Opinion

Could 7th anniversary of Marikana massacre be used to pile pressure on Cyril?

Could 7th anniversary of Marikana massacre be used to pile pressure on Cyril?

Already under fire over leaks that shows that his CR17 campaign to ascend to the ANC presidency was funded by figures who had ulterior motives, President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have started this week on bad footing.

This as Ramaphosa ended the previous week on a similar when his attorney’s letter to the Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba asked that some details regarding a probe into the funding by Public Protector Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane to be sealed and kept out of the prying public eye. 

In some quarters the request was viewed as strange and a sign that Ramaphosa was trying to hide some nefarious donations that may compromise his integrity as “Mr Clean” who swept into to power with a promise to clean the country after the presidency of Zuma.

Among the alleged donors to the CR17 campaign includes former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos, who donated R1m to the Ria Tenda Trust on October 25 last year; Johnny Copelyn, director of eNCA owner Hosken Consolidated Investments, who put in R2m in August last year; and Seriti Resources CEO Mike Teke, who transferred R600 000 in two tranches in January and February last year.

Not to be outdone, his supporters waged a fight back campaign, arguing that he has the right to ask that the details be sealed because the information was allegedly obtained illegally and Mkhwebane was looking beyond the R500 000 Bosasa donation she was requested to probe. 

While Ramaphosa scored a hollow victory against Mkhwebane on Monday when he successfully interdicted the public protector from implementing her remedial action, the attacks continued.

In an opinion piece carried on IOL, Sipho Seepe, an author and political analyst, said Ramaphosa leaks might prove to be his political undoing and headlines are pointing to the unravelling of the “New Dawn”.

“But leaked emails are no stranger to Ramaphosa. They seem to haunt his presidency. Emails assumed prominence during the Farlam Commission investigating the killing of miners in Marikana. Fortunately for Ramaphosa, the commission exonerated him of wrongdoing,” Seepe wrote.

Weighing in on Wednesday, Floyd Shivambu, the deputy president of the EFF, said the recent reports about the funding that was mobilised from rich white businessmen, to assist “reveals the fact that he is a rented president.”

Now the Marikana massacre commemoration in the province of North West could also add more woes to Ramaphosa. 

On 16 August 2012, police gunned down 34 mineworkers who were participating in a protracted strike at platinum miner, Lonmin, after wage negotiations broke down. They were demanding that their salaries be increased to R12,500.

In the past the EFF and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have used past commemoration events to lambast Ramaphosa and the ANC government. 

Another sore point for Ramaphosa with Marikana is that he promised to visit the area but he has not done that and his opponents will likely remind him of that as the day draws nearer.

Signaling that the issue of Marikana will now and again be used against Ramaphosa, despite the fact that the Farlam Commission exonerated him, Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF in May this year said: “Cyril Ramaphosa is an enemy of our people. Why? Cyril Ramaphosa presided over the killing of 34 innocent mineworkers in Marikana. He was never charged, he was never arrested.”

He later alleged that: “After killing 34 people, he was promoted to deputy president and now president.”