Keynote speaker at the 4th annual Marikana Memorial Lecture, Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, has appealed to government, business, mining companies and the country’s people to work together to rebuild the country.

Dr Sooliman, Renewal Programme Patron Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, and Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman all appealed for positive change – not only in Marikana but throughout the country. They were speaking at the annual Marikana Commemoration lecture, marking the anniversary of the Marikana massacre in August 2012.

Dr Sooliman appealed for people to turn away from the widespread negativity that is making it impossible to rebuild the country. He said much of the negativity was due to the fact that people had not recovered from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic and that there were other historical factors that needed to be overcome.

“How can 7.4 million people’s taxes look after 65 million people? It’s totally impossible. Since pre-’94, we were responsible for that lack of education, lack of opportunity, no income, no jobs, no development… we have inherited that. We have a duty to reverse that. And the only way we can do that is with government, corporates, NGOs, the religious sector, and the country joining hands together.

“I thank those corporates who’ve come out and said: ‘how do we save the country?’. In 2021, the corporates showed the same kind of non-malice, no vengeance, after the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal,” he added.

Archbishop Makgoba said the families of the 44 who died at Marikana “have carried their burdens of grief, uncertainty and injustice. Their resilience is an inspiration to us all.”

He added: “We must strive more actively for a society that values dignity and the worth of every individual… In pursuit of justice, we must also seek reconciliation… We need a future that respects human rights and addresses economic disparities… Tragedies like Marikana must teach us lessons and become catalysts for positive change. Hope requires us to act.”

In his message to the commemoration lecture, Froneman spoke of business’s imperative to create shared value. “Shared value is about the attainment of the best possible outcome from an economic, social and environmental perspective, for a broad range of stakeholders.”

However, he added, “business cannot do this alone. A critical feature in the ability of any company to create shared value is the participation of a capable state that creates conditions for competitiveness in which business can flourish and play its part in promoting economic growth and social advancement. I am encouraged by some positive signs lately from the Presidency that the government is amenable to working with business to create a better shared future.  The partnerships between business and government to work on electricity, transport and logistics, and crime and corruption is being well received to address these critical issues.”

Froneman concluded: “Marikana, despite its tragic legacy, can in fact be a leading site for these initiatives, and through active stakeholder co-operation, progress is already being made. It is certainly our commitment to continue playing our part in achieving these goals.”

Recordings of the Memorial Lecture may be found here.

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