Political parties in arms for Marikana funding

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry was set up for the police. There is no one from Marikana there, yet they continue.

These were the sentiments of the marchers who took to the Union Buildings today to appeal to the president to pay for the legal fees of the arrested and wounded representatives at the commission.

The miners were supported by most political parties including the DA, AgangSA, Cope, IFP, EFF, UDM and a number of social organisations including Outa.

Widow Zameka Nuku said she still doesn’t know why or who shot her husband on August 16.

“I have no husband today. We have come here to appeal to the government we voted for, that they should pay the legal fees of the workers. They need to be at that commission because they have some knowledge of what happened. People no longer call me by my name but by ‘that widow’,” she said.

“No R12 500 no vote,” said Bishop Joe Soka when he addressed the crowd before reading the memorandum which was handed over to Zuma’s “representatives”.

Seoka read that without the participation of the victims, no credible or legitimate outcome can emerge from the commission.

“By conducting this peaceful and lawful demonstration, the victims wish to urge the South African government to reconsider their position and provide the necessary funding. Failure to do so will result in a discredited process on which R115 million of taxpayers’ money has already been spent,” reads the memorandum.

If government does not respond to the memorandum by the end of Friday, Seoka said the miners would implement the next stage of their plan which would only be made known in due course.

Jim Nichol, a lawyer from the UK said he supported the ANC during the apartheid years, demonstrating and raising funds. He was appalled when he first saw the images of August 16.

“The reason the workers are not getting the funding is because Jacob Zuma is trying to avoid the truth to come out about who gave the orders to shoot. They expect you to pay your own legal fees, then pay for the police. This money comes from your taxes. Hang your head in shame Zuma, hang your head in shame ANC. The world watches and they aren’t getting away with it,” he said to cheers.

Erik De Ridder, the spokesperson for the Citizens4Marikana, said the commission is costing the tax payer a lot of money yet there is such a severe imbalance in the funding of the various parties.

“The organisation of the march came on the back foot of the commission’s decision not to postpone the proceedings without the wounded and arrested miners and the families of the deceased. The outcome was very substantial. We hope to be able to raise as much money as possible to support the families. The Marikana Dignity Trust has been registered and all the funds collected, like the R17 200 which was collected in buckets by the workers at the commemoration, will be deposited there,” he said.

The EFF’s Julius Malema, who was earlier mobbed by supporters when he arrived, was welcomed with cheer on the stand.

He said that he was the one who had approached legal representatives to assist the wounded and arrested miners.

“These lawyers are not paid. They do this for free. Zuma thinks that if they pay the lawyers, the money will fund the EFF. Dali has never given us a cent. Instead we owe him.

“We were not fighting for money but for justice because all of us must be treated equally by a democratic government,” said Malema.

Most political party representatives called for the miners to change their vote next year and not to vote for the ANC.


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