Jean-Jacques Cornish

Cyril Ramaphosa not welcome and Marikana massacre commemoration

Hard left leader Julius Malema says those in power want South Africans to forget the brutality of the Marikana massacre five years ago.

He says the killing of 34 striking platinum miners by police deserves to be commemorated as seriously as the 1960 Sharpeville massacre of black protestors by apartheid police.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was addressing thousands at the fifth anniversary commemoration of the Marikana massacre.

That was when police shots  cut down 34 striking miners after a week of violence that had claimed  ten more lives.

Malema’s party colleague Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represented the miners families at the commission of inquiry following the massacre, says government has not yet compensated the families of the dead.

EFF MPs have contributed a million rand to help build houses for miners’ families at Marikana.

Malema says further contributions will be made.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa remains at the centre of the tragedy.

As a shareholder of the Lonmin Platinum Mine that employed the strikers he called for police action at the time to end the work stoppage.

He has subsequently apologized for  making this request.

Nevertheless the general secretary of the miners’ union AMCU Joseph Mathunjwa said Ramaphosa was not welcome at the commemoration ceremony.

Ramaphosa who is challenging for the leadership of the ruling African National Congress at its elective conference later this year, was a Marikana yesterday . He went to visit widows of the slain strikers.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.