S Africa remembers Marikana tragedy 5 years later

CAPE TOWN, Aug. 18 — South Africa on Wednesday marked 5 years
since the Marikana tragedy, with the government pledging to improve living
conditions of miners.

The government observed the Marikana tragedy by reflecting on the
challenges facing mine workers and distressed mining communities and
renewing its resolve to improve their working and living conditions,
spokesperson Phumla Williams said. The 16th of August marks the 5th year of
the Marikana tragedy, in which 34 miners were shot dead in clashes with
police during labor unrest in Marikana, North West Province in 2012. This
came as residents in Marikana complained that the commemoration day was
meaningless to them, as justice has not prevailed against those responsible
for the tragedy. People living in the vicinity of Marikana have also raised
concerns about adequate housing, access to water and electricity for
household use, as well as access to health services and social benefits.The
government has worked out plans to address the concerns, Williams said.

President Jacob Zuma set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee for the
revitalization of distressed mining communities soon after the tragedy. The
government remains on track with regard to implementing the recommendations
of the Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy, according to Williams. The
government is considering the claims for compensation by victims and
families of the victims of this tragedy in a conciliatory manner, said
Williams. About 1.1 billion rand (about 83 million US dollars) has been
claimed for compensation of injuries and loss of support, according to
Williams. Hundreds of housing units have been completed to date as part of
government efforts to ensure adequate, appropriate and sustainable human
settlements development in Marikana, Williams said. Planning is also
underway for infrastructure delivery including the upgrading of roads,
addressing water shortages and electricity in partnership with the private
sector, said Williams.”Government continues to engage business, labour and
communities to seek sustainable solutions that resolve the concerns of mine
workers and distressed mining communities and transform the mining sector
to broaden the benefits of our country’s rich mineral wealth,” Williams
said. – XINHUA