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Maimane to Ramaphosa: Make August 16 Marikana Memorial Day

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Six years after the Marikana tragedy, leader of the opposition, Mmusi Maimane wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to officially recognise the day of the massacre.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare August 16, Marikana Memorial Day.

Maimane’s comments come on the eve of the six-year anniversary of the tragedy.

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Thirty-four mineworkers were killed at Lonmin’s mining operations in Marikana, after police officers opened fire on them on 16 August 2012. They had been striking for better wages.

“I have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa today to request that he declare August 16 Marikana Memorial Day to be commemorated each year in honour of the workers who were killed in Marikana six years ago. The president is empowered, through proclamation, to declare any day to be observed and commemorated and I implore him to do the right thing and declare tomorrow a commemorative day”, Maimane said in a statement.

The DA leader added that: “President Ramaphosa has reassured the nation that he will play whatever role he can. Declaring 16 August Marikana Memorial Day is something the president can and ought to do to honour the lives of those who were tragically killed six years ago”

Ramaphosa has been blamed for the shooting, as he was a Lonmin executive at the time. On the eve of the Marikana shooting, Ramaphosa allegedly said in an email discussion between Lonmin management and government officials that events around the strike “are plainly dastardly criminal acts and must be characterised as such”.

Meanwhile, The Institute for Security Studies released new details on that tragic day. It released a report on Wednesday, which revealed that police were not under threat by the striking miners.

“Basically‚ there is no evidence that the strikers shot at the police. The issue of whether the strikers were shooting at the police is a bit intricate. People who engaged with the information on this question will all acknowledge that the information is very complicated‚” said David Bruce‚ an independent researcher and expert on Marikana and policing.

Thabo Baloyi
[email protected]

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