Slow start to Marikana march in Pretoria

12 September 2013 - 13:28 By Sapa
Miners singing and chanting songs at Nkaneng behind the Lonmin mine. File photo.
Miners singing and chanting songs at Nkaneng behind the Lonmin mine. File photo.
Image: Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla/ Gallo Images

A march to demand that the state pay for lawyers for survivors of the Marikana shootings started off slowly in Pretoria on Thursday morning.

Different political parties gathered outside the Caledonian Stadium, singing and dancing.

Members of the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, AgangSA, and the Congress of the People sang and danced.

DA supporters sang "We have Helen Zille", and EFF members sang "If you support Zille, are you mad?"

Marikana survivors and their families entered the stadium singing "We are not here to play".

In August 2012 police shot dead 34 people, almost all striking miners, while trying to disperse them during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana near Rustenburg in North West.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths but lawyers representing survivors have withdrawn for lack of funding.

They have also had numerous applications for funding rejected.

Dali Mpofu, for miners wounded and arrested, was also at the march but said he was just there to march and would not comment further.

The marchers, under the banner of Citizens4Marikana, plan to march to the Union Buildings to appeal directly to President Jacob Zuma for funding for the lawyers.

Traffic along the route is expected to come to a standstill.

Superintendent Hilda Mohale of the Tshwane metro police said thousands of marchers were expected.

"Traffic will be disrupted at Pretorius Street, Nelson Mandela Street, [and] Madiba Street, and [the March will] proceed straight to the Union Buildings," said Mohale.