NewsSouthern AfricaSouth Africa: Deputy President served summons over Marikana massacre


Posted on Friday, 13 November 2015 11:31

South Africa: Deputy President served summons over Marikana massacre

By Crystal Orderson in Cape Town

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo©ReutersDeputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been served with summons arising from the Marikana mining tragedy‚ the presidency confirmed.

During an oral question session in Parliament, Ramaphosa told parliamentarians his lawyers have been served with papers.

"Deputy President Ramaphosa has instructed his lawyers to defend the action‚" the presidency said. "We reiterate the view that the findings of the Farlam Commission remain clear insofar as they relate to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa personally."

Deputy President Ramaphosa has instructed his lawyers to defend the action

It has been three years since the killing of miners at Lonmin mine in Marikana, in the platinum rich North West province, where 44 people were killed. Ramaphosa was a Lonmin director at the time.

The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) welcomed the summons. In June, the EFF laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa, Lonmin and suspended police commissioner, Riyah Piyega for allegedly conspiring to kill the miners.

"There is prima facie case to commit murder of workers and Ramaphosa had put pressure on police and conspired to kill workers," EFF leader, Julius Malema said at the time.

Some listeners calling into a local radio station said this is becoming a "political football" and that "no one person can be held responsible for the massacre". Others felt that as a leader in a powerful position, Ramaphosa must account and that the politically connected are benefitting from the work of poor workers in the mining sector.

According to reports, some claim Ramaphosa had "pressured then Police minister, Nathi Mthethwa and then Mineral Resources minister, Susan Shabangu to act against the striking workers — and that at his insistence, the strike be treated as criminal activity".

A report on the massacre said the Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons had alleged that Ramaphosa was the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of the miners.

A commission of enquiry, however, found that it cannot be said that Ramaphosa was the cause of the massacre, and the accusations against him were groundless. The commission also found that the executive played no role in the decision by the police to shoot at the striking miners.

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