R1 bil­lion

Lon­min, the state and Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa

CityPress - - News - ATHANDIWE SABA athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

The mine work­ers who were wounded and ar­rested dur­ing the Marikana mas­sacre are su­ing Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, min­ing gi­ant Lon­min and the gov­ern­ment for nearly R1 bil­lion, claim­ing their “col­lu­sion” led to the tragedy.

The 329 mine work­ers have al­ready in­sti­tuted a civil claim of R1 bil­lion against the pres­i­dency, the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity and the po­lice min­is­ter.

Last month, they filed a fresh claim in the South Gaut­eng High Court against Ramaphosa, Lon­min and gov­ern­ment claim­ing they “acted in con­cert” and Ramaphosa should have fore­seen that the “pres­sure he ex­erted” on po­lice would have re­sulted in in­jury and death.

Two weeks ago, Ramaphosa told Par­lia­ment he had re­ceived the sum­mons, but he de­clined to elab­o­rate. He has yet to file re­spond­ing pa­pers.

His spokesper­son, Ron­nie Mamoepa, said: “The deputy pres­i­dent has in­structed his lawyers to look into the mat­ter and de­fend the ac­tion. Nonethe­less, the find­ings of the [Marikana Com­mis­sion of In­quiry] in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity re­main very clear.

“We’ll leave it in the ca­pa­ble hands of his lawyers,” he said.

Be­fore the mas­sacre, Ramaphosa – a for­mer nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Lon­min – called the po­lice min­is­ter at the time, Nathi Mthethwa, ask­ing for “con­comi­tant ac­tion” against the strik­ing work­ers. But the chair of the com­mis­sion, re­tired Judge Ian Far­lam, found no ev­i­dence to sug­gest Ramaphosa had any­thing to do with the mas­sacre.

How­ever, in court pa­pers, the mine work­ers ar­gue that:

Ramaphosa’s emails and phone calls to politi­cians and Lon­min of­fi­cials were the rea­son the po­lice shot dead 34 strik­ers on Au­gust 16 2012 and that he, Lon­min and gov­ern­ment “acted in con­cert” in the “col­lu­sion of state and cap­i­tal”, which re­sulted in the mas­sacre;

Ramaphosa should have fore­seen that in­volve­ment by the po­lice would cause the death of strik­ers;

The “pres­sure ex­erted by him” was passed on from politi­cians to se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers and to the po­lice who shot the strik­ers;

Ramaphosa was neg­li­gent as a di­rec­tor, share­holder and BEE in­vestor in Lon­min and to­gether they shirked their le­gal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to pro­tect their work­ers from harm;

Ramaphosa “ac­tively in­cited vi­o­lence, pre­dictable death, se­ri­ous in­jury and un­law­ful ar­rests, de­ten­tion and pros­e­cu­tion”; and

He failed to pro­mote or ini­ti­ate mean­ing­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions about the mine work­ers’ wages. The mine work­ers ar­gue that Lon­min:

Direc­tors and se­nior em­ploy­ees par­tic­i­pated in email ex­changes with Ramaphosa;

Un­law­fully col­luded with po­lice to end the strike by any means; and

In­sti­gated pre­ma­ture use of po­lice vi­o­lence against the strik­ers to pro­tect Ramaphosa’s fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests.

The mine work­ers are de­mand­ing dam­ages for pain and suf­fer­ing to the tune of more than R977 mil­lion. They also want an un­con­di­tional apol­ogy, an “un­der­tak­ing by all par­ties to re­frain from sim­i­lar con­duct in the fu­ture” and a mon­u­ment and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion pro­grammes for all the mas­sacre’s vic­tims.

This is the first civil claim against Ramaphosa.

The fam­i­lies of the 34 men who died in the mas­sacre are also su­ing Lon­min and the min­is­ter of po­lice, and have de­manded an apol­ogy and com­pen­sa­tion.

The court pa­pers in­clude a break­down of how much com­pen­sa­tion each in­jured worker wants and a de­scrip­tion of their in­juries.

Mzox­olo Magidi­wana, who was shot at Scene 1, is su­ing for R5.5 mil­lion af­ter sus­tain­ing mul­ti­ple gun­shot in­juries, in­clud­ing an in­jury to the right fe­mur and right hip.

“For a while, I have had this pain on the side of my stom­ach. When I went to get it checked, I was told the doc­tors would have to cut me open again,” he told City Press.

A few weeks ago, he had to un­dergo surgery for a stom­ach in­fec­tion.

“I have to live an ac­tive life now, but it’s not easy. I know I will never live a full life again and there’s no way my body will be able to carry me to old age, es­pe­cially when I may have to con­tinue un­der­go­ing these op­er­a­tions,” he said.

“I am glad I am alive, be­cause the way my body was rid­dled with bul­lets, I should have died, and Cyril had a role to play in that.”

About the apol­ogy they want from Ramaphosa, he said: “Ask­ing for for­give­ness is greater than all the money in the world.”

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

SEEK­ING COM­PEN­SA­TION

Mzox­olo Magidi­wana is claim­ing R5.5 mil­lion for his in­juries

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

TRAGEDY Strik­ing mine work­ers near Lon­min’s Marikana mine were gunned down in an open field by po­lice in 2012, leav­ing 34 of them dead

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