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S.African deputy president summonsed over Marikana mine massacre

Published on 12/11/2015

South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday he had been issued with a court summons over the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers by police at Marikana in 2012.

Earlier this year, a judicial commission of inquiry into the killings exonerated Ramaphosa, who was then a non-executive director and shareholder at Lonmin, the owner of the platinum mine.

But opposition parties and lawyers for the victims and their families have insisted that he played a part in the bloodshed after pressing the authorities to crack down on the strikers.

Ramaphosa told parliament Thursday that he could not comment on Marikana as he was now a party to court action over the issue.

He gave no details, but spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa told AFP: “It’s the lawyers of some of the victims of the Marikana shooting who served the summons.”

The presidency said Ramaphosa had instructed his lawyers to defend the action.

“We reiterate the view that the findings of the Farlam Commission remain clear insofar as they relate to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa personally,” the presidency said in a statement.

The miners were gunned down after police were deployed to break up a wildcat strike that had turned violent at the mine northwest of Johannesburg.

It was the worst police violence in South Africa since the end of apartheid 21 years ago, and the fallout continues to reverberate through national politics.