We all failed Marikana miners - Ramaphosa

Pretoria - Different parties should take the blame for the August 2012 Marikana tragedy, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

"The tragedy has to be approached as a collective failure by many role players. I don't think that many can say they do not bear any form of responsibility," he told the commission's public hearings in Pretoria.

Ramaphosa was being cross-examined by Dali Mpofu, for the wounded and arrested Marikana miners.

Ramaphosa was a non-executive director and shareholder of Lonmin at the time.

'We failed the people of Marikana'

"The responsibility has to be collective. As a nation, we should dip our heads and accept that we failed the people of Marikana, particularly the families, the workers, and those that died," he said.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and over 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.


Mpofu said Ramaphosa's responsibilities at Marikana went beyond fiduciary duties as a non-executive director of Lonmin.

"Of the parties you say should share the responsibility, you were associated with [the] Lonmin board and management, you were a shareholder, the SA Police Service, the government," said Mpofu.

Ramaphosa said he was not in government (at the time).

Mpofu retorted: "You were not in government but you were exchanging telephone calls with people in government.

"You were a senior member of the ANC [African National Congress]".

Mpofu suggested Ramaphosa was criminally liable for the Marikana events.


Earlier, Ramaphosa was asked during cross-examination why he did not intervene and initiate negotiations with striking Marikana miners in 2012.

"Nothing was happening, as far as the wage dispute was concerned. Why did you not establish that nothing was being done?" asked Heidi Barnes, for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

He replied: "We had people that were dealing with the matter at the level where everything was happening.

"I can concede that meeting should have happened, negotiations should have ensued at an early [stage] before everything escalated into violence".

Barnes said Ramaphosa should have intervened.

"You didn't even ask, because you would have been told that nothing was happening in relation to the wage dispute. If you had asked, you would have said it was unacceptable," she said.

Ramaphosa disagreed.

"We got reports from where everything was happening. Our representative, Ms Ncube, was dealing with the matter. I did not have the information on an ongoing basis."


Barnes asked Ramaphosa to explain why he expended a great deal of energy on lobbying to have the preceding violence characterised as criminal and to increase police presence, yet "did not take a single step to find out what was going on with regards to the wage dispute".

Ramaphosa said the incidents were an emergency which required attention after being stabilised initially.

"I was being given information of people dying and being killed. That is what I responded to, immediately. The stabilisation, in my view, would lead to negotiations to bring the solution," he said.

Ramaphosa said striking employees should not attack non-protesting colleagues.

Security was again tightened considerably on the second day of Ramaphosa's testimony.

Kobus Hattingh 2014-08-12 12:27:56 PM
not WE, you and the rest of the Government!
John Baptist 2014-08-12 12:28:19 PM
Why are we all being dragged in to this if the execution order was given by only a few?
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-12 12:35:45 PM
Oh no you don't. I certainly had nothing to do with Marikana. I like many am an honest wage earner, trying to make ends meet. I don't go on strike and I do not have a neverending income working for the government. The we in your statement, is not correct, Mr Ramphosa.
Dorino Kalamaras 2014-08-12 01:02:04 PM
When are we gonna have an inquiry on the murdered farmers which the gov fail to protect ?? If 40 policemen died at the hands of panga yielding miners on drugs, would we have the same inquiry ??
Natalie Dickerson Gelonese 2014-08-12 01:12:37 PM
I was not there - nor was half the Nation, how are WE responsible for this? As per the article : Ramaphosa was a non-executive director and shareholder of Lonmin at the time. So clearly this is not our fault!! So how about YOU take responsibility for your actions?
mantlekilo 2014-08-12 01:13:31 PM
Put your hand in the fire for whatever reason you wish to cook up, and you're going to get burnt....being hard done by is not a free passport to cause mayhem. Exist within the constraints of the law and you will be ok....transgress like these low class miners did, and you will rue your puerile choices.
Ducatisti 2014-08-12 01:25:04 PM
uhhh no you did
Mondli Dladla 2014-08-12 01:29:08 PM
Mr Ramaphosa dont say,"WE" let not your trouble be our trouble,no hayi khona
Brian Dorning 2014-08-12 01:42:51 PM
If you run at the police armed with weapons then don't complain if you get shot. The police acted in self defense. The miners were clearly after blood because they had been treated with 'invisibility mooty'.
Johnny B Goode 2014-08-12 01:45:58 PM
"Ramaphosa said striking employees should not attack non-protesting colleagues." If ubuntu is claimed as part of the culture then this attacking non-striking employees must also be officially accepted as part of the culture because where there is a strike there is violence. Its what the people do and they should proclaim it as proudly as they proclaim ubuntu.