When the new repeats the old: Marikana haunts new Zuma Cabinet

With the announcement of his new Cabinet this past week, President Zuma has reaffirmed this government’s commitment to turning its back on the thirty-four miners who were shot down in Marikana in 2012. He has also sent an unequivocal message: the government will play no role in ending the crippling political impasse in the platinum belt.

Retaining Nathi Mthethwa and Susan Shabangu in ministerial portfolios, and persisting with Riah Phiyegah as police chief indicate that there will be no justice for the families of those men. Furthermore, the comrades of those fallen men are unlikely to see the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as Deputy President, as a peace offering from a ruling party they feel has betrayed them. The old faces in the new Cabinet send a signal that the state is not interested in resolving the simmering conflagration in the Northwest province.

At the start of the fifth ANC administration, there are stark differences between the treatment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the public imagination and the manner in which the Marikana Commission is seen. The TRC remains firmly embedded in our collective consciousness. The images of sobbing victims and sullen perpetrators represent shared memories. They have come to define how many South Africans came to understand the effects of Apartheid. Yet there is no image of the Farlam Commission. There are no shared stories to accompany the footage…

Read Full Article >