President aspirant, Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to the whole country for his role in the Marikana tragedy.

The Deputy president said he is sorry for the manner of language he used during the tragedy.

He rendered the apology at Rhodes University. He was talking to students. He admitted that he was wrong to have asserted that the Lonmin mine strike was all about “criminal acts and must be characterised as such”.

He made the statement in an email correspondence between Lonmin management and government officials on the eve of the Marikana tragedy. It is widely held that Ramaphosa’s statement partly inspired the Marikana massacre.

“I may well have used unfortunate language in the messages I sent out. I have apologised and I do apologise that I did not use appropriate language but I never had the intention to have 34 other mine workers killed,” he stated.

He revealed how ‘Mother of the Nation’, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela once asked him to embrace the tragic event by visiting the area.

She “said to me: ‘DP this matter needs to be addressed. I want to go with you to Marikana,’ (and I said) ‘Mama, I will accept your counsel.’

“I also felt pained by what happened in Marikana. I am willing to do that. I am going to be led by Mama in this regard,” said the Deputy President.

Ramaphosa said he was horrified when he stepped in to manage the crisis. Ten workers he said, had already been killed. They were butchered and the sight he met excessively shocked him.

“… My conscience is that I participated in trying to stop further deaths from happening.

“You might say that doesn’t matter but it did horrify me as a person and I then said we need to prevent this from happening,” he said.

He recounted how he served miners as the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and worked earnestly to get them better wages and improved living conditions.

“I put everything I had to advance the interest of mine workers. It could never be that I would then say 34 mine workers should be killed.

“I have apologised – this is where even as a leader, I’m willing and prepared to listen to advice and counsel of other leaders,” added the Deputy President.