If two rival political parties were united in these views above, it must be an indication of the gravity of the situation South Africa is facing with its current dictator president.
The condemnation of the South African government and President Jacob Zuma came as the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) marked the third anniversary of the Marikana tragedy this weekend. The incident claimed the lives of 34 miners and injured more than 80 people when members of South Africa’s police ‘service’ opened fire on protesting mine workers.
Times Live reports leaders of the DA and EFF were welcomed by thousands of cheering miners at Wonderkop as EFF leader Julius Malema said the victims had died at the hands of a “murderous regime led by the ANC and a “brainless president. We’re here today to remember those fighters. I know of 34 workers who were killed by the state, when the state colluded with business,” said Malema.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said “president Jacob Zuma’s place is in jail; he should pay back the money used to upgrade his home. The widows of our brothers who were killed have suffered enough and we will fight that they get compensated… This ANC government is protecting one person – President Zuma – instead of protecting the people of South Africa.”
No representative of the government or of the ANC was present. No official ceremony has ever been held at Marikana.
Read the transcript of Maimane’s hard hitting full speech below:
My fellow South Africans,
It is with great emotion and heartache that we gather here today to commemorate the lives of those who died at this site three years ago.
That dreadful day – 16 August 2012 – and the events of the week that preceded it will forever be etched in our memory as the greatest tragedy to afflict our young democracy.
The scenes that played out on this koppie and surrounds were ones that no one could ever have imagined they would see in a free, democratic South Africa.
What makes today’s commemoration even more heartbreaking is the knowledge that the murder of 44 South Africans could have been avoided.
The tragedy of Marikana could have been avoided by an accountable, responsive government.
An accountable, responsive government that presided over a police service fully equipped, trained and mandated to keep the peace rather than unleash a wave of violence on those it was sworn to protect.
The constitutional democracy we live in was forged out of the lifelong struggle of so many that fought to ensure the likes of Sharpeville, the Soweto riots and countless other Apartheid atrocities would never again be experienced.
What happened here must never happen again.
We owe it to the victims of the Marikana massacre, their families, the people of South Africa, our children and future generations to ensure that the events of August 2012 can never be allowed to take place again.
The events of 16 August 2012 represented a point in time when the governing party finally broke apart from the rich legacy Tata Madiba, Sisulu and Tambo dedicated their lives to building.
This was only reinforced when President Zuma took to our television screens on 25 June to present the findings of the Farlam Commission.
There stood a President who had delayed the Commission report for almost 90 days, seemingly unaware of the families of the victims who had waited almost 3 years for justice and accountability.
There stood a President who clearly refused to hold anyone in his government accountable.
There stood a President so far removed from his people that he had no sense of the pain this dark chapter in our history had inflicted on his country.
The Farlam Commission report found that National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and the SAPS leadership took a decision that they were fully aware would end in the deaths of many.
They failed to cease the operation they authorized once the massacre began and callously left fellow South Africans to die on the ground we stand on today, waiting an hour to call for medical help.
As we speak, Riah Phiyega still holds her job as the head of our police service. Instead of decisive action, our President asked her to write a letter motivating why she should keep her job.
She has submitted her letter. But still we wait. We still wait for action from a President more concerned with staying out of court than providing justice and closure to fellow South Africans.
Riah Phiyega must be fired immediately.
Perhaps a greater travesty is that the then Minister of Police, Nathi Mthetwa, continues to serve in the President’s cabinet as a full Minister.
As the accountable cabinet member for the single most lethal use of force by the police since 1960, Minister Mthetwa should be banned from ever holding public office again.
He too should be fired immediately.
The DA will continue to fight to ensure those responsible for the events of August 2012 are held accountable.
Yet the accountability of those responsible will not be sufficient to provide the families of the Marikana victims with the closure they so desperately need.
Those directly affected by the tragedy that was Marikana must be compensated for their loss. The widows and family members of those who died must receive justice.
It is an insult that those widows and family members have had to approach the courts this week to seek compensation for the loss of breadwinners.
Their government has abandoned them.
What is even more insulting is that part of this court action is a request for the government to apologise for the actions of the police in August 2012.
It is simply astounding that the government has not apologized for what transpired here 3 years ago.
Our government has abandoned us.
The DA will do all we can in Parliament to compel the government to fulfil its duty and provide compensation to the widows and family members. They should not have to endure the trauma of a long court action to obtain the justice they deserve.
Accordingly, the DA is investigating steps to bring an appropriations bill to Parliament to provide for the compensation of the dependants of the Marikana victims. Such compensation would provide for fair, actuarial determination of past and future loss of support.
The government must pay. It is only right. It is only just.
Accountability and justice will certainly help bring closure to this terrible chapter in our country’s history.
But to ensure such an event never takes place again will require the removal of a government that has abandoned its people.
A government more concerned with protecting the undue enrichment of its president that delivering basic services, protecting its people and creating job opportunities.
The best tribute to the memory of those who fell on the ground before us will be to vote the ANC out of power.
That is the only way we will obtain a government that cares about its citizens.
A government determined to realise the dream of Madiba of creating a South Africa that is both politically and economically free.
A government that does everything it can to finally remove the barriers of our painful past.
A government that believes in fairness, accountability and responsiveness.
A government focused on ensuring that the child born to a miner in Marikana will enjoy the same opportunities as a child born to a banker in Sandton.
Next year’s municipal elections will present us all with an opportunity to begin the removal of this government.
Next year we have the opportunity of honouring the lives of those who died in Marikana by voting the ANC out in municipalities across the country.
And that can unleash a tidal wave of change that can result in the current government being removed from the Union Buildings.
It is only that kind of action that will deliver the free and fair South Africa we so desire.
The South Africa of opportunities for all.
The South Africa where a day such as 16 August 2012 will never ever happen again.
I thank you.