Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted in parliament that “the language I had used” in the days leading up to the Marikana massacre in which 44 miners were killed in 2012 was inappropriate.
He was speaking during question time in the National Assembly yesterday, during which EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu put him under pressure on the Marikana issue.
Ramaphosa said he had accepted Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s counsel and said he was ready to meet the families and widows of the Marikana victims to personally apologise to them.
Shivambu wanted Ramaphosa to explain what he meant and who he was apologising to following his announcement to that effect while in Grahamstown at the weekend.
Responding to the Marikana issue frankly for the first time in the National Assembly‚ unlike in previous instances where he was defensive‚ Ramaphosa said he was sorry for the language he had used in the days leading up to the massacre back in 2012.
In e-mails to Lonmin mine executives‚ where he held shares‚ Ramaphosa called for concomitant action to be taken against striking mine workers, which has become a blight on his political career.
“I did use inappropriate and unfortunate language in the e-mails,” he said.
“I was trying to stop further killings from happening.
“For me that was sparked off by the killing of 10 people who had died earlier and the killings had happened in the most brutal manner.
“Some were police and the majority of them were mineworkers‚” Ramaphosa said.
He said that for the better part of his growing years he was committed to advancing the struggles of mineworkers‚ as former general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.
“I threw myself at the task and said it could never be that I could have mineworkers killed, or anybody for that matter‚ in the way that it all happened,” Ramaphosa said. “That is what I apologised for.” The deputy president, who is in the running to succeed President Jacob Zuma‚ also said as a leader‚ he was prepared to be held accountable. – TMG Digital/TimesLIVE