SOUTH AFRICAN president Jacob Zuma has declared a period of national mourning from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 August 2012, to commemorate the lives of all South Africans who have died violently, especially the 44 who were killed in incidents in Marikana, North West province.
Ten Lonmin mine employees were killed between 10 and 12 August, and on 16 August, 34 people were killed and 78 were injured. The period of mourning is also for the eight members of the community-based anti-stock theft group called Isikebhe, who were ambushed and killed in Pomeroy near Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal.
Flags will fly at half mast at all flag stations in South Africa and missions outside the country, from 20 to 26 of August. The President has also declared Thursday, 23 August as the official day for memorial services to be held around the country to mourn and promote a violence-free society.
“The nation is in shock and in pain. We must this week reflect on the sanctity of human life and the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic. We must avoid finger-pointing and recrimination. We must unite against violence from whatever quarter. We must reaffirm our belief in peace, stability and order and in building a caring society free of crime and violence.”
In addition, the President has appointed an Inter-ministerial Committee on the Marikana Tragedy, led by the Minister in the Presidency Mr Collins Chabane. The committee will visit Marikana today. They will coordinate and lead all support to families and relatives including the identification of family members, counselling and burials. The President has requested faith-based organisations to work with government in assisting families during this difficult period.
The President met with the police and the injured mineworkers in Marikana last Friday, and announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the tragedy. It will be a judicial commission of inquiry, and the President will announce the composition and terms of reference in a few days’ time.