It is now over two years since the Marikana Commission of Inquiry handed over its report to Jacob Zuma. The report was fundamentally flawed, but recommended further investigation into the police to ascertain grounds for prosecution. At the end of 2016 the Presidency announced that scores of police officers be prosecuted following initial investigations. Since then nothing has happened. Yet, seventeen miners face serious public violence charges in a trial that begins at the end of July this year. The trial is set to be a long drawn out process and these mineworkers cannot be left alone to face this ordeal.
The massacre at Lonmin, Marikana can accurately be described as the most brazen incident where corporate power was used to capture and use the state for its own narrow interests, to safeguard profit at the expense of life and limb. While we campaign against state capture we must never forget that Marikana has been its most deadly and visible expression to date.
We call on trade unions, students, faith-based organisations, and those committed to fighting state capture to stand side-by-side with the victims of Marikana as they mark five years since the massacre with a National Day of Action.
We call on organisations to either organize a local event, or to support the commemoration service to be held at the Koppie in Marikana on 16th August.
On the 16th August 2012, South African Police fired live ammunition at striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, killing 34 and injuring 78. Many were shot at close range while trying to surrender. Some strikers were shot in the head or in the back. The Marikana miners were taking part in an unprotected strike for better wages, demanding a tripling of their salary to R12,500 (£950) per month.
After the massacre, President Jacob Zuma said that this is not the time to point fingers. Instead he set up a commission of inquiry that would look into the causes of the massacre.
In the following days, 270 of the Marikana strikers were arrested and charged with the murder of their colleagues under the Common Purpose doctrine, a law last used under Apartheid. They were released on bail after public pressure forced the National Prosecuting Authority to provisionally drop the charges.
To date not one police officer or official has been charged for the massacre at Marikana. Yet some of the miners still face the prospect of long prison sentences as the State intends to blame the miners themselves for the violence. Most of the miners who were killed and badly injured in Marikana were sole breadwinners and the loss of their earnings left many of their dependents in a desperate situation.