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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South African government joins in remembering Marikana tragedy
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Tuesday joined the nation in remembering the Marikana tragedy in which 34 miners were shot dead by police four years ago, pledging to address existing socio-economic challenges.

August 16 marks the four-year anniversary of the event, the biggest tragedy in the mining sector in the post-apartheid era.

The tragedy took place during labour unrest in Marikana, North West Province.

"At this very difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those who lost their lives," said Tshegofatso Modubu, spokesperson of the Department of Communications.

In the four years since the tragedy, the government has been hard at work to address the revitalization of distressed mining communities, and to find sustainable solutions that are of benefit to all, he said.

Part of the government’s drive to address existing socio-economic challenges has seen the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) to tackle the revitalization of distressed mining communities, Modubu said.

The IMC’s mandate is to change the face of mining in South Africa, working with business, labour and other sectors. The IMC has prioritised the issue of integrated and sustainable human settlements in mining towns and in labour sending areas.

They are working to ensure improved socio-economic conditions in mine communities and labour sending areas, Modubu said.

An additional priority is to improve the working conditions of miners, he said.

The IMC is also working towards ensuring decent living conditions for miners. This, however, requires the commitment and involvement of all social partners to build lasting solutions, according to Modubu.

Work in this regard is continuing and will be to the benefit of distressed mining communities across the country, he said.

The mining sector remains the bedrock of the South African economy and the improvement of conditions for workers should be viewed within the context of the country’s efforts to address poverty, unemployment and inequality, said Modubu.

The government is also continuously engaging mining companies to assess the implementation of the provisions of the Mining Charter to improve living conditions of workers, he added.
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UPDATE:

South Africans to draw lessons from Marikana tragedy: ruling ANC

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday called on all South Africans to draw lessons from the Marikana tragedy about the importance of peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the workplace.

The party made the appeal while joining the nation in remembering the tragedy, in which 34 miners were shot dead by police four years ago.

August 16 marks the four year anniversary of the event, the biggest tragedy in the mining sector in the post-apartheid era.

The tragedy took place during labour unrest at Lonmin Mine in Marikana, North West Province.

Drawing lessons from the tragedy would ensure that the country would never experience a similar incident, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

"We must never forget that a genuine campaign for workers’ rights, including decent working and living conditions, was at the heart of the Marikana conflict," he said.

It is for that reason that the ANC calls on all stakeholders to use this occasion to work together and refocus their energies towards bringing lasting stability in the area, said Kodwa.

This can only be achieved by meaningfully redressing structural inequalities that still persist in the workplace, especially in the mining industry, he noted.

"We urge government to partner with the mines to accelerate the program of revitalizing mining towns, which will prioritize housing, access to services and development of local economies. We also call on Lonmin to fast-track its transformation and social responsibility agenda to build better living conditions around the mining area," Kodwa said.

The ANC, he said, will continue to work with the Marikana community to build social cohesion.

"Working together we can transform Marikana into a beacon of hope, in honour of those we lost," Kodwa said.

Also on Tuesday, the government issued a statement, pledging to address existing socio-economic challenges facing the mining sector.

The government has been hard at work to address the revitalization of distressed mining communities, and to find sustainable solutions that are of benefit to all, the statement said.

The government is also continuously engaging mining companies to assess the implementation of the provisions of the Mining Charter to improve living conditions of workers, said the statement.

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