Wednesday

7th Dec 2016

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.

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)

Latest News

  1. EU fraud case sheds light on Danish and Polish politics
  2. Estonia and Finland have best EU science teaching
  3. Italy scrambles to save world's oldest bank
  4. Commission 'shockingly passive' on Lithuania gay rights
  5. Secret tax deals in Luxembourg in dramatic rise
  6. EU ministers approve 'Juncker plan' extension
  7. Commission tries to revive GMO opt-out proposal
  8. Merkel calls for Muslim veil ban