Statement of the African National Congress Youth League on the violence at Lonmin Marikana Mine
The African National Congress Youth League condemns the unnecessary loss of life at Lonmin Mines. The loss of even one worker is always one life too many but the killing of ten people is a tragedy of epic proportions. We send our condolences to the families of the departed and wish them strength during this difficult time. We further wish those injured in these monstrous actions a speedy recovery.
The manner in which these murderous and heinous crimes were carried out is indicative of an organised and orchestrated campaign against workers. Lonmin, NUM and AMCU must jointly take responsibility for the violence which has escalated unabated over the last couple of days. While law enforcement agencies are expected to act with haste to arrest all implicated in these criminal acts, those who by virtue of election or employment are tasked to exercise vigilance over the safety and wellbeing of these workers must do so and this matter cannot be relegated to a blame session between the unions and the company. The SANDF and law enforcement agencies must never be expected to clean up irresponsible and dangerous behaviour condoned by those who are meant to be leaders of workers. No union shall be allowed to use the lives of people bolster their support and we remind both NUM and AMCU that freedom of association is an inalienable right enshrined in our constitution.
We are left with no doubt that we were correct when we spoke of the need to democratise workplaces as part of our call for the nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. We have never though at any point assumed such a call would need to be further extended to what we believe to be the revolutionary and progressive trade union movement. We call therefore for an immediate end to the hostilities between NUM and AMCU and for NUM to lead in true tradition of the Congress movement and initiate discussion with all stakeholders to resolve the current impasse. During this time, the African National Congress Youth League echoes COSATU’s call for workers to exercise maximum discipline and restraint in the face of faceless and nameless provocation. The Ministers of Mineral Resources and Labour must also not to be a silent spectator to the process.