The legal fraternity has blamed a breakdown in conflict resolution in the mining industry for Thursday’s shooting near Lonmin’s Marikana mine, in North West.
“These workers have been the victims of an escalating breakdown in conflict resolution, particularly in the mining industry,” the Law Society of SA (LSSA) said on Friday.
It said in a statement this had been brought about by those who put vested interests before the lives of workers
“This breakdown is symptomatic of our society and body politic in South Africa.”
A total of 34 people were killed and 78 were injured when police tried to disperse striking workers who had encamped at the Wonderkop hilltop, near the mine, in Rustenburg.
Another 10 people had already been killed in violent protests at the mine in the past week.
The LSSA said there had been a failure to rely on the rule of law to resolve conflicts.
“Violence, vigilantism, corruption, xenophobia, disrespect for the law and law enforcement agencies, as well as greed for power, influence and wealth are all collectively destroying the values of nation building, patriotism and respect for law and order. These are the warning signs of a failing state.”
A fresh approach was needed by political parties, workers’ unions, NGOs, religious bodies, gender lobby groups, youth groups, community-based organisations, professional and business organisations.
Leaders in these fields and academics with socio-political and economic skills should to get together “to find common ground in order to reverse the growing damage to our society and country that we see around us”, the LSSA said. – Sapa