Speaking at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape yesterday, Ramaphosa said messages he sent to Lonmin management calling for “action” before the shooting were meant to prevent further disaster.
He had been horrified that 10 miners had been murdered – eyes gouged and hearts ripped out – and wanted to avoid more deaths.
“Yes, I may have used unfortunate language in the [e-mail] messages and for which I have apologised and for which I do apologise.”
He reiterated that he had never intended that any miner be shot.
“For nine years of my life I put everything I had to advance their interests. It could never be that I would then say that 34 mineworkers should be killed.”
But Madikizela-Mandela had advised him the matter should be addressed and had offered to go with him to Marikana.
“I have said [to her]: ‘I will accept your counsel and am willing to do so in this regard.’
“She wants to do it as she also feels pained by what happened and says I must address it. I am willing to do that and willing to be led by her,” he said.
He also acknowledged that the ANC had not lived up to its pro-poor policies and warned that if the party did not listen carefully to South Africa’s youth, it would face the consequences.
“Young people are feeling increasingly frustrated [and] ignored.They see the opulence of the state that favours pomp and ceremony over education and putting bread on the table. They sense a leadership becoming more and more distant from ordinary people, a leadership tolerant of corruption and insensitive to the needs of its people.”
Speaking later to about 2000 people at a cadres’ forum organised by the ANC’s Sarah Baartman region, Ramaphosa urged ANC branches to elect leaders in December who would not steal taxpayers’ money.
“Go and choose wisely. What type of ANC do we want? We want an ANC of high integrity. We want an ANC which is going to stand against corruption. We want an ANC that will not tolerate thieves.”
Supplied by Tiso Black Star Group