The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) scored a significant political victory at the weekend, when one of the worker leaders at the forefront of the labour strike in Marikana, outside Rustenburg, joined the organisation.
Xolani Nzuza was paraded as a prominent EFF member during the organisation’s national assembly at Uncle Tom’s Hall in Soweto at the weekend.
Nzuza was among Lonmin miners who presided over several mass meetings before and after the Marikana massacre, when the police gunned down 34 striking mineworkers on August 16 last year.
Strangely, Nzuza confused the mine bosses, mostly British passport holders, with the “Boers”, or Afrikaners however.
“The president of Nkandla decided to go and meet the Boers and not the workers who voted for him. Once he saw Juju (Julius Malema) was with us, he tried to come. Now, our lawyers have not been paid and are begging for (financial) assistance,” Nzuza said.
He is also a member of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which recently eclipsed the rival ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the majority union at Lonmin.
His decision to join EFF has raised the organisation’s hopes that it could make serious inroads at Marikana, and possibly around other mines in Rustenburg’s platinum belt.
Nzuza told of workers’ pain at how the government had “abandoned” them.
“We still haven’t received the R12 500 promised to us. Till on Monday, we are still waiting for (President Jacob) Zuma’s government.
It’s painful (because) our brothers died (for that pay rise),” Nzuza said.
He took a swipe at Zuma for siding with the mine bosses and for not paying the legal fees of the families of the slain and wounded miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. – IOL