After apologising to South African citing Winnie Mandela’s advice, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted in Parliament that “the language I had used” in the days leading up to the Marikana massacre was inappropriate.
The massacre took place in 2012, claiming the lives of 44 miners workers.
EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu put him under pressure on the Marikana issue during question time in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The Deputy President said he had accepted Winnie Mandela’s counsel and he was ready to meet with the families and widows of the Marikana victims to personally apologise to them.
Ramaphosa sent emails to Lonmin mine executives where he is a big shareholder. H called for consequent action to be taken against striking mine workers and this has since become a blight on his political career.
He told MPs on Thursday that it was his choice of words that “sparked off” the killings in Marikana.
“I did use inappropriate and unfortunate language as in the emails. 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‚” said Ramaphosa.
The hopeful presidential aspirant told MPs 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 I said it could never be that I could have mineworkers killed or anybody in that matter‚ in the way that it all happened. That is what I apologised for. I also said as a leader I take counsel in what other leaders advise. Mam Winnie Mandela did raise the matter with me and raised it publicly and said I want to take you to Marikana. That was her initiative‚” said Ramaphosa.
He promised to meet the widows of those workers who were killed “and widows of 44 people who were killed”.
“Now honourable Shivambu‚ as soon as I made that statement in the Eastern Cape a number of reverends approached me for a private meeting and said some of us come from areas where many of those workers come from. We want to go with you‚ yes to Marikana‚ with prayer and understanding. We want to walk this journey with you because we want you to do this right‚” said Ramaphosa.
The deputy president who is in the running to succeed President Jacob Zuma‚ also said as a leader‚ he was “prepared to be accountable”.