OPINION

Declare 16 August Marikana Memorial Day – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says such a declaration would be in the interests of justice and national unity

DA Leader Maimane calls for the President to declare 16 August Marikana Memorial Day

15 August 2018

Tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of the tragedy that happened at Marikana on 16 August 2012. 34 mineworkers’ lives were taken by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

I have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa today to request that he declare 16 August Marikana Memorial Day to be commemorated each year in honour of the workers who were killed in Marikana six years ago. The President is empowered, through proclamation, to declare any day to be observed and commemorated and I implore him to do the right thing and declare tomorrow a commemorative day.

While similar calls to former President Jacob Zuma fell on deaf ears, we trust that President Ramaphosa will act differently and cede to this request in honour of those who died. This need not be a difficult decision for an administration that has posited itself as a ‘New Dawn.’

We may have seen a change of leadership in the ANC, but this is first and foremost about political accountability.

Such a declaration is in the interests of justice and national unity. It would also go some way in giving meaning to the President’s commitment in his State of the Nation Address to ‘play whatever role [he] can.’

Healing wounds means more than last month’s R100 million settlement offer by the ANC government to families of the victims for general damages. Closure cannot be bought.

Our call will never exist in isolation. The Marikana tragedy will forever be a stain on our national conscience and many in society, including trade unions and political parties, believe that tomorrow should be honoured accordingly.

President Ramaphosa has reassured the nation that he will play whatever role he can. Declaring 16 August Marikana Memorial Day is something the President can and ought to do to honour the lives of those who were tragically killed six years ago.

Issued by Mmusi MaimaneLeader of the Democratic Alliance, 15 August 2018