Thursday

14th Dec 2017

Zuma tells EU he is 'in control' after mine masscare

South African leader Jacob Zuma has said he is in "full control" of the situation in South Africa after police shot dead dozens of mine workers last month.

Speaking alongside EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Wednesday (18 September), he said the Marikana mine massacre was "shocking" and "unexpected."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added that it could have happened in "any country" and that his rule is sound because he quickly launched a judicial commission of enquiry into events, however.

He also invited European companies to invest in South African water, railway and electricity infrastructure.

"We are in full control - that must give confidence to investors, because it [the Marikana massacre] happened in the background of very stable democracy and very stable rule of law. I think if those elements were not there, it would give serious concern to investors," he said.

The US-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) says 34 people died at the Marikana platinum mine in August when police used live ammunition against strikers armed with machetes, clubs and rocks.

A clash between rival trade unionists and police one week earlier saw 10 people killed.

The violence triggered strikes in foreign-owned mines across the country, costing some €420 million in lost output.

They also saw Zuma's populist opponent, Julius Malema, accuse him of "apartheid" in killing black workers for the sake of British business interests.

On Tuesday Marikana workers ended their strike after Lonmin, the UK-stock-exchange-listed firm which runs the mine, gave them a 22 percent pay rise.

The EU and Zuma in Brussels also agreed to hold a regular "human rights dialogue."

The first meeting - which will see mid-level EU diplomats question South African counterparts on rights concerns behind closed doors - is to take place by the end of the year.

HRW in a previous report said that "exploitative conditions" for workers in South Africa are a serious worry.

It also named police brutality, government corruption, Zuma's attacks on free speech and a culture of impunity rape of women as areas of concern.

For his part, Van Rompuy on Tuesday said Marikana was a "tragedy" and that South Africa needs to tackle "poverty and inequality."

But he added that his talk with Zuma had focused on trade and that the new human rights dialogue should not be seen as a sign that South Africa is a problem country.

"We will look at the situation of human rights not only in Europe and in South Africa but also in the rest of the world," he said.

Focus

South Africa is the most European of 'new world' wine makers

Founded by Dutch colonists and improved by Huguenots fleeing from France, South African wine-making is proud of its European heritage. In the past two decades, its wines have become best-sellers in places like Scandinavia and Great Britain.

Investigation

Congo fatigue: EU funding in the heart of Africa

The Democratic Republic of Congo was last year the largest recipient of EU support among ACP states. But critics say this approach has failed, drawing a question mark over the EU's next step.

Two EU states break ranks on Jerusalem

Hungary and the Czech Republic have broken EU ranks on US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite warnings it could bring back 'darker times'.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  2. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  3. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  4. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU
  5. British PM limps to EU capital after Brexit defeat
  6. US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'
  7. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  8. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short