The Marikana tragedy in which 44 people lost their lives must never repeat itself, Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Bavelile Hlongwa, said on Friday.
“The message of the department is that as a caring government we are with the people of Marikana. We are with the people that lost their loved ones on that day which the President calls the darkest moment. It must not repeat itself. Expressing our feelings is not good enough,” she said in an interview with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in Pretoria on Friday.
Hlongwa said government is planning to visit the area, adding that information is still being gathered with regards to commitments made before the visit.
“We can’t be oblivious and unresponsive to the situation in Marikana. We need to be responsive to our people. People of Marikana are people of this country. Our commitment is that the end of September should not come before we have gone to Marikana,” she said.
In August 2012, a total of 44 people died following days of violence during a protracted wage strike by workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in the North West.
Government established the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, led by Judge Ian Gordon Farlam, to investigate the circumstances that led to this tragedy and importantly, what needed to be done to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy.
“We are planning to go there and for me it’s quite urgent that we go there,” she said.
Hlongwa’s comments come as government announced that progress has been made since the Marikana Commission of Inquiry concluded.
Progress in implementing the recommendations of the Inquiry is being made, among which has been to ensure the South African Police Service (SAPS) strengthens their capacity of public order policing.
Progress made includes reparations for families.
In a statement issued by the by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), government announced that it paid a total of R171 446 581 to the legal representatives of the families, in the finalized cases, for arrests, detention claims and for a loss of support.
“With regard to compensation for general damages, discussions between government and representatives of the affected families are taking place and we hope that they will be concluded in due course,” it said.