PRETORIA-- Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has called on South Africa's mining sector to transform in order to ensure that workers' rights, dignity, health and safety are not compromised.

Reflecting on the tragic events which took place in Marikana in North West Province six years ago, the Minister said the government had started implementing the recommendations made by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

In August 2012, a total of 44 people died following days of violence during a protracted wage strike by workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana.

Following the tragic events, the government established the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, led by Judge Ian Gordon Farlam, to investigate the circumstances which led to this tragedy and importantly, what needed to be done to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy.

The outcome of the inquiry made recommendations, which included compensation for the injured and their families; examining the procedures of Public Order Policing, and preparing valid cases for prosecution, according to applicable laws.

The government has paid 67 million Rand (about 4.55 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) in the finalised cases of families who lost their breadwinners six years ago in Marikana.

Mokonyane said the government was awaiting the response from the legal fraternity representing the victims' families with regards to the various offers made for compensation.

She said Government's plans to improve the lives of South Africans include rural development, economic development, building sustainable, integrated, safe and secure human settlements.

Also of importance is sorting out issues under the Labour Relations Act on the employer/employee relationships. Strengthening the bodies and structures of engagement between the worker and employer is quite important. Transformation of the mining sector is also important," she added.

Beyond the commission's recommendations on what government needs to do, our own vision of the South Africa we want speaks to interventions that will make sure that events that happened in Marikana do not happen again. We regret the tragic events that happened."