The structural conditions that set the scene for the violent strike and massacre at Marikana still remain in the mining industry. This is according to the Justice and Peace Commission for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC).

In its report on the Marikana massacre, released on Thursday by president Zuma, the department of mineral resources was asked to take steps to ensure Lonmin mines implement its housing obligations under the social and labour plans. On Friday, SACBC Justice and Peace Commission called upon the department of mineral resources to go beyond this recommendation and look at the whole set of structural conditions that set the scene for the violent strike and the massacre.

“The structural conditions that set the scene for the violent strike and massacre still remain in the mining industry: the widening wage gap between workers and executives, the poor working and living conditions of mine workers, the corporate manipulation of the rivalries between trade unions, and lack of an effective mechanism to ensure that the workers are free to exercise their right not to participate in a strike. Still present too are the ineffectiveness of  social and labour plans as a mechanism to uplift the lives of mine workers and mine-affected communities, and a rising sense of disenfranchisement in the country as a toothless mining charter allows the politically connected few to benefit from mineral wealth at the expense of the mine workers and the mine-affected communities.” Said Bishop Abel Gabuza, Chairperson of the SACBC Justice and Peace Commission: “

He warned: “If these structural issues are not adequately addressed, we shall soon have another Marikana. As a country, if we continue to pursue a brand of mining economy that puts profit before people, we shall have another Marikana.”

The SACBC Justice and Peace Commission reached out in prayer and solidarity with the families of those who lost their loved ones during and after the Marikana massacre: “Our hearts are with the families who lost their loved ones and are struggling to find healing and closure as they try to make sense of the findings of the Marikana report.  There is also a need for the healing of the whole country from the culture of structural violence.”

 

Contact:

Bishop Abel Gabuza,

Chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Tel. 053 831 1861 or 053 831 1862.

Website:  /