Citizen Reporter
4 minute read
16 Aug 2021
11:33 am

Marikana Massacre: EFF ‘exploring’ private prosecution while NUM laments ‘politicisation’

Citizen Reporter

On 16 August 2012, the South African Police Service gunned down 34 striking miners at the Lonmin mine in Marikana.

The rocky outcrop at Marikana where 34 miners were gunned down by police in August 2012. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu/African News Agency

As the country commemorates the ninth anniversary of the Marikana massacre, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on people to stop politicising the massacre and focus on assisting all victims to find closure.

The NUM called on the government to speed up the process of equally compensating all the victims of the massacre.

“We can’t be talking about workers’ compensation nine years later. We are also calling for unity and reconciliation of workers irrespective of trade union affiliations,” the union said in a statement.

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The union said what happened in Marikana had been “projected and used by any disgruntled people who want to launch their political relevancy at the expense of the plight of the victims of those who were brutally killed and injured”.

On 16 August 2012, the South African Police Service (Saps) gunned down 34 striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West. This was the most lethal use of state force in post-apartheid South Africa’s history.

In the days leading up to 16 August, 10 people, including police officers and security guards, were killed.

Nine years on, no one has been called to account for the events of 16 August 2012.

EFF calls for reparations

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have called for reparations for all the mineworkers who were killed in Marikana, as well as their families and children.

The party said in a statement on Monday that the victims of the massacre should be “taken care of because if the ANC government had not killed the children, husbands and fathers of different families, they would still be here today looking after their families”.

The Red Berets said the fact that not a single person had been held accountable for the deaths was evidence that there was no justice in South Africa.

“We as leaders of the EFF, opened a criminal case against the police and against President Cyril Ramaphosa for his complicity to murder workers in Marikana in 2012, and there is still no progress, and no update on what the South African Police Service [Saps] has done about this case.

“The commission of inquiry into Marikana massacre was a farce, and this is demonstrated by the fact that nine years later, still no one has been held accountable.”

The EFF added that it would engage with the legal representatives of the widows of Marikana to persuade them to prioritise the case for reparations.

“We will also legally challenge the Saps and National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] to update us on the criminal prosecutions of those who killed and were behind the killing of workers in Marikana. The NPA must issue a certificate of non-prosecution, and we as the EFF will explore the possibility of private prosecutions and are convinced that we will find justice.”

Remember all victims

The NUM said in commemoration of the Marikana massacre, it would mobilise its resources to push for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry – chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam – which recommended that all the victims should be equally compensated.

“It should also be remembered that days before the brutal shootings by the police, 10 people were killed and that included mineworkers, security officers and members of the police. So our call has always been that those victims must also be remembered.

“As a responsible trade union, we are appealing for people to refrain from politicising this sensitive event. We should all strive to assist all the victims to find an amicable closure.”

The NUM said it was unfortunate that the massacre had been politically projected, not for the interest of the victims, but for political relevance.

“We still maintain that the instabilities that engulfed the platinum belts were politically motivated. As part of the political plan, the hatred against the NUM increased and that hatred is still being maintained, and as a result, that sometimes makes negotiations very difficult.”

Human dignity

The NUM said the Marikana massacre exposed the lack of integration and transformation of the country’s mining industry, adding that black mineworkers should receive sufficient compensation and proper accommodation to reclaim their human dignity.

“What we are seeing today are political realities beyond trade union segmentation and all of us should not claim narrow political victories. We should all champion workers’ unity to advance the aspirations of those who died and those still alive, which is to have a caring mining industry.”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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