Marikana “exposed culture of violence”: Zuma

[] – THE ANC is expected to increase pressure on mining companies to invest and uplift communities in areas in which they operate.

In his opening speech at the ANC’s 53rd national conference in Mangaung today, President Jacob Zuma said the ruling party will need to reflect on the implementation of the Mining Charter, following the tragedy at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in North West where 44 people died in protests in August this year.

The ANC met with the CEOs of the mining companies to discuss the living conditions of workers on the mines, following the violent protests and strikes at Marikana, Zuma said. “At a political level, the Marikana tragedy exposed the organisational challenges we face both at the workplace and in the community.’

“Marikana also exposed the seemingly deep rooted culture of violence and intimidation that still exists in our society. “Mining companies should meet their obligations regarding social and labour plans,’ Zuma said.

Addressing the audience in a marquee tent which housed 6,500 people, among which 4,500 delegates, business people and journalists, he cautioned that the ANC should “maintain on-going contact with the masses’ and explain to them why there are sometimes delays in service delivery. But he also condemned the “unacceptable violence’ that goes hand in hand with protests and strikes in South Africa.

In his speech, Zuma also mentioned the recent national sovereign downgrade of South Africa by global rating agencies. “We will not delve into the reasons for downgrading, but we want to dismiss the perceptions that our country is falling apart,’ he said.

“Today the ratings agencies and investors are asking whether the ANC can continue to manage this economy. Yes, the ANC will continue to provide strong economic leadership and steer our economy boldly,’ Zuma added.