Marikana miners ready 'to die again'
Hundreds of Marikana mine workers were bused to Eastern Cape this weekend for the funerals of 24 men killed during a confrontation with the police at the Lonmin mine.
Nineteen of the victims were buried on Saturday and five yesterday. Another five will be buried next weekend; two were buried last weekend.
Of the 44 people killed at Marikana, 31 were from Eastern Cape. Many were not miners but job-seekers.
Eastern Cape social development MEC Pemmy Majodina, who has been at the forefront of organising the funerals, said: "All the funerals were without problems though there was finger-pointing from aggrieved mine workers. But government officials who attended managed to calm them down [by saying] there was a commission formed to investigate the shooting."
One of the victims buried at the weekend was 27-year-old Thembinkosi Gwelani, of Lusikisiki's Kwelani village. Gwelani was reportedly killed while delivering food to protesting mine workers.
Minister in The Presidency Collins Chabane was among those who attended the funeral.
Sebenzile Mntlaka said Gwelani was looking forward to the day when he would be employed at the mine.
"He was a reserved yet active person who was looking for work at Lonmin. He had plans [for] a brighter future but his life was cut short," said Mntlaka.
"It is sad that he had to die this way. He died for us because we were protesting for better salaries. He died while delivering food to us."
Another miner, Siphosoxolo Mabena, said Gwelani was always at the mine's gate looking for work.
"You could see that Gwelani came to Rustenburg to work. Though he came in January, he was known to us, and we knew that he was going to get what he was looking for, but police killed him."
Mabena said the strikers are not going to back down.
"We demand the R12500 salary. If we have to die again, we will die for what we know is right for us.
"If we back off now, we will be selling [out] these comrades we are burying today."
"The country needs answers to what really happened and we are helping to find out the truth through the commission formed by President Zuma," said Chabane.
"In four months the report will be released."