South African President Jacob Zuma has declared a week of mourning starting on Monday following the brutal killing of 34 miners by police last week.
A memorial services would be held across the country on Thursday – exactly a week after police fired at striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in the country’s North West province.
Zuma has also set up a commission of inquiry into the tragic event that sparked memories of South Africa’s apartheid past.
Close to 80 people were injured in the shooting. In Marakana, family members have finally been informed that their loved ones died during the incident.
As South Africa comes to terms with the terrible images that were screened across the world, there seems to be more questions than answers highlighting the harsh conditions miners work and live under.
Affected family members are still coming to terms with losing loved ones and in some cases the only breadwinner in the family.
Addressing a church service, Zuma said the “mining catastrophe, without blaming anyone shows that something has gone wrong in our society”.
Lonmin has also issued an ultimatum for the striking workers to return to work. But the workers said they would not betray their fallen comrades by returning to work.
According to the Lonmin statement, “the final ultimatum provides rock drill operators with a last opportunity to return to work or face possible dismissal.”
“Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum,” he said.
Employees could therefore be dismissed if they fail to heed the final ultimatum
Despite the dismissal threat, only a quarter of Lonmin’s labour force reported for work on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, two police unions defended their members’ actions. They said their members are deeply traumatised by the incident and had no choice but to defend them.
This weekend former ANC Youth League leader was the only political figure brave enough to address the striking workers.
Despite police warning, Malema assured them he was safe and addressed the workers and their families. He used the opportunity to attack Zuma and his recently appointed police minister.
Malema said, “Zuma presided over the killings of people, he must step down…Zuma doesn’t care about the mineworkers”
“The minister of police must step down because this massacre has been committed under his supervision”.
Zuma also laid into respected ANC leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, whose company owns shares in Lonmin.
Ramphosa’s company said it would contribute two million rand towards the funeral arrangements of the miners who died.
Several ministers including who are part of the commission of inquiry were due to visit Marikana on Monday to help the relatives of the victims.