Friday

24th Feb 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."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Interview

The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story

The lynching of a woman in the Soviet Union in 1988 gives insight into why reconciliation remains so hard in the 30-year long war on Europe's eastern fringe.

News in Brief

  1. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  2. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  3. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions
  4. Irish PM expected to quit amid police scandal
  5. After Brexit vote, 100,000 UK firms registered in Ireland
  6. Bayrou to support Macron in French presidential election
  7. British by-election tests Ukip strength after Brexit
  8. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  2. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  3. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  4. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  5. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  6. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  8. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  11. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  12. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year

Latest News

  1. Don't blame Trump for Europe's insecurity
  2. EU rules out post-Brexit 'hard border' with Northern Ireland
  3. Fewer EU pupils being taught two foreign languages
  4. Women and child refugees face abuse in French camp
  5. Russian military creates 'information force'
  6. Spain MPs to probe €60bn bank bailouts
  7. Crowded race to win EU medicines agency
  8. Fighting environmental injustice in Europe