While we condemn what has happened at Marikana, let us step back a bit and
see what should have been done. The triangle, which is made of employer,
employees and employees' representatives does not work in this mine.
Firstly, the employer should have detected that a crisis was looming and
instituted programmes to counter the problems, before the workers went on
strike. This is the reason that the mine employs Human Resources
management. Therefore the employer failed the workers.
The employers should have had a plan to engage or continue to engage with
workers while they had been on an unprotected strike for over two weeks.
Why was this not done? This could have prevented the workers resorting to
Secondly, the employees' representatives. Where were they when the
employees were furious about their conditions of employment? Why did they
not engage their members in order to establish what the workers' concerns
were, if they were truly representatives of the workers? They have sold out
The last leg of the triangle is the workers themselves. Why did they not
request to see their mine employers to discuss the matters concerning them,
if they could not trust their representatives? Why did they not appoint a
couple of representatives to approach management before they went on strike
to avoid confrontation? Why did they carry traditional weapons? Why did
they not want to negotiate with their employers? By doing that they
encouraged their employers to take the opposition direction. Why did the
workers not listen to those who advised them to return to work and continue
negotiations, in order to avoid the tragedy that was looming in front of
The IFP therefore finds these three groups at fault - the employers, the
employees' representatives - i.e. the Trade Unions and the workers
themselves. The saddest part is those who called in the Police. To do
what? The workers who were not at work did not attack any of the management
or disrupt their work place except by withholding their labour.
Why were Police called to disperse the crowd? Is it not the duty of the
employers to negotiate with employees at their place of work? It is not the
duty of the Police to negotiate on behalf of management. Management knew
full well that Police are trained to do a certain job. Why did management
involve Police under these circumstances? On the other hand, why did the
Police agree to act on behalf of the employers instead of management doing
Police who were sent to Marikana, did they have the skills to negotiate on
behalf of management? If not, what was expected of them in a volatile
situation like that?
Who gave instructions for the Police to shoot to kill workers and why?
Workers were not at their workplace, they were on a hill outside the mine.
They were not a threat to the mine production.
This is a tragedy. This was not supposed to happen and out of the triangle
drawn before, it seems that everyone has failed. People have died,
including some members of the Police.
The IFP does not know how this country will learn to avoid this type of
massacre, which happened in the 1960s, in 1976 and now last week on the
hill in Marikana. Everyone involved in this massacre are victims of this
Mine Management must take the most blame for this tragedy. They failed to
realise that the workers wanted them to deal with issues that affected them
every minute of the day, yet they failed to engage workers fully. How dare
the employer give an ultimatum to the workers to return to work when they
are still in mourning, the injured in hospital and others awaiting trial?
Police are at fault because they were used by the mine management to solve
the mine's problems instead of protecting both sides. I hope that the
workers have now learned that negotiation is the key to success.
It is unfortunate that this culture of violence was brought in by the armed
struggle which, among other things, brought in the idea of making South
Africa ungovernable. Wherever there have been ructions in municipalities,
there is violence and destruction of property, like libraries and other
facilities. It is tragic that we are not talking about it. This culture
seems to be entrenched in our nation's psyche. We must do something to
change that and remove this culture of violence from our psyche. We do not
expect to be confronted with tragedies like Marikana.
On behalf of the IFP and my leader, we would like to pass on our condolences
to the families of all those who lost their loved ones in this massacre and
hope that they will be consoled by the grace of God.
I thank you.