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Zuma avoids scene of shooting

Aug 22 2012 17:27

President Jacob Zuma visits injured mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana mine. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma visited Nkaneng in Wonderkop on Wednesday afternoon to listen to striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West.

Worker leader Xolani Nzuza briefed the president about events that ended in police shooting dead 34 people last Thursday, and wounding 78.

He told Zuma that the strikers wanted the mine to pay all workers R12 500 a month.

Zuma told the crowd that he had instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate the shooting.

It would then present him with a report that would enable him to know who was right and who was wrong.

The leaders requested Zuma to go and inspect the scene where the shooting happened.

When Zuma's convoy left, the group of workers followed his car anticipating that he would stop at a hill where the miners were shot, but his convoy just drove past.

It was not clear whether he would visit the scene later.

Hundreds of striking workers converged on top of the hill around 14:30, expecting Zuma to visit the scene of the shooting.

In the week leading up to the shooting, 10 people - including two police officers and two security guards - were killed.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine.

Workers also wanted higher wages.

Meanwhile, Zuma's scheduled engagements in the province were cancelled in the aftermath of the Lonmin events, the presidency said.

"All public engagements during this period of mourning have been cancelled," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

The department of agriculture said the visit, which was part of the Masibambisane rural development initiative, was postponed until further notice.

"The revised date will be communicated once finalised," it said.

Zuma's weekend schedule would have included overseeing various developmental projects in the province. These included upgrades to irrigation schemes, as well as livestock and other food security projects.

He was also scheduled to speak at the Taung Agricultural College on Sunday.

Masibambisane is a presidential-led initiative to ensure the implementation of agricultural and rural development projects in the country.

The project was also reportedly behind the R2bn "Zumaville" town project, to be built near Zuma's rural homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

lonmin  |  amcu  |  num  |  jacob zuma  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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