Address by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) on Marikana Commemoration on Friday, 16 August 2013 at Marikana

Programme Director,
Church and union leaders,
Leaders of political parties,
Mining management,
Community leaders,
The workers and people of Marikana

16 AUGUST 2012
I stand here and I remember when we heard the terrible news of what happened on this very soil on 16 August 2012.

Indeed the South African Council of Churches (SACC), under the leadership of Bishop Jo Seoka, and the leaders of political parties visited this community to pay our respects and to hear what it was that happened.

You will recall that we left here with the advice that the SACC should not leave this community to fend for itself and we are thankful that you have stayed your course.

We again plead with you to not leave this area without having made sure that this community has access to proper housing, schools, roads, clinics, crèches and above all until the citizens of this country go to an Economic Indaba that will address the skewed distribution of resources which have benefited a selected few and only some regions.

If we had strong civil society, after Government’s botched handling of this situation, we would have had a plan of action in place, with specified deadlines, that insured that this community received the care and services they need to have an acceptable standard of living and the disputed funding of legal representatives would not be an issue.

If it had not been for the harsh reality, one would not have believed that we lived in a new South Africa where it was possible for nearly 80 South Africans to be injured, and 44 to die, in one day, in a conflict between a people and their government.

A year has passed and this community still has a long way to go to find healing. You still have much heartache, frustration and disappointment to process, because of not only what happened on that fateful day, but also what happened thereafter.

This community, and those who find employment on the mines across South Africa, have however proved that we as a Nation have an innate strength and resilience.
You have shown that we will not be defeated by that which is wrong; that we can rise from the ash, dust and grime; and that we are willing to work to find mutual trust and a brighter future for all our people.

To the families, friends and colleagues of those who were injured and had lost their lives, it is not only important that we find peace in our hearts, but also peace in this community and in the workplace. I hope that all the people who form part of this community, employer and worker alike, will soon find each other.

We therefore congratulate the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the mine management for their continued willingness to engage with one another to talk about a solution that will benefit all.

We will never forget what happened here, but I am sure we can all agree that some good must come from this tragedy. Things must change for the better.

On behalf of the United Democratic Movement, I commiserate with those who were left behind and we appeal to all concerned, to work hard to find common ground and above all, let us never-ever have a repeat of what happened on 16 August 2012.

I thank you.