An Anglican archbishop in South Africa on Friday proposed that a hill at a mining site where police killed 34 miners in scenes reminiscent of apartheid brutality be declared a national monument.
Jo Seoka, who also became a mediator between Lonmin mine owners and the surviving miners, made the suggestion as he concluded his testimony to an inquiry into the killings.
“According to African culture and beliefs it is sacred space now. So many lives were lost there and their spirits are believed to be in that (place),” Seoka told the inquiry, according to local news agency SAPA.
Seoka was giving evidence to the judicial inquiry launched by President Jacob Zuma into the August 16 massacre.
Turning the rocky outcrop, which has been dubbed the “hill of horror”, into a monument “will be a critical gesture to help in the healing of those that have been affected.”
Violence at mining giant Lonmin’s northwestern Marikana site, where around 50 people died during six weeks of unrest, was sparked by a stand-off between miners and mine owners over pay.
The bishop of the church’s Pretoria diocese said the Marikana tragedy should help South Africa build “a platform to create long-term solutions that will make our country to be a better place.”
That strike ended with a hefty pay rise for Lonmin’s 28,000 workers but not before it set off a wave of strikes across the mining sector.
The inquiry is expected to conclude its probe in January.