Marikana inquiry not neutral - author

2012-12-07 08:03
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Farlam commission of inquiry into the deaths of 44 people in Marikana was not neutral, the author of a new book on the matter said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"The inquiry is a lawyers' paradise. The torture on the workers, their pain and suffering is not being brought to the commission's chairman. It is not neutral," University of Johannesburg head of sociology Professor Peter Alexander said.

He was speaking at the launch of the book Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer, which he co-authored with four others.

Police opened fire on the striking Lonmin miners near a koppie in Wonderkop on 16 August, killing 34 of them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near the platinum mine.

Voices of mineworkers

Alexander said the book presented the voices of mineworkers that had not been heard before.

"Most of them chose to tell the story by remaining anonymous. That is common practice when you are constantly being threatened and harassed."

SA Council of Churches president, Bishop Joseph Seoka, said the Marikana shootings were a collaboration between the police and Lonmin.

He likened the shootings to the March 1960 Sharpeville massacre, where police shot dead 69 protesters who marched against apartheid pass laws.

"The only weapon that Lonmin workers had against the employers was to withdraw labour. The shooting would not have happened had management spoken to the workers instead of sending messengers."

The inquiry would not produce any justice, said Alexander.

'People slaughtered in the interest of profits'

"It is a one-sided affair, with police having slaughtered people in the interest of profits. The inquiry only benefits the police and Lonmin mine."

He said lawyers at the inquiry were doing their best to undermine the pain of the workers and the grieving families.

"They are doing everything to protect Lonmin and the police."

Marikana miners had re-written history with their blood.

"We cannot afford to sleep through the revolution. Soon it will be in the townships and suburbs... no one will control it once it goes there."

Politics

Lonmin miner Tholakele Dlunga accused the government of killing the workers. He said they would not vote for the African National Congress at the next national elections.

"We might not be educated, but we understand politics... and in politics people do not die as they did in Marikana. We are not telling people not to vote... vote, but not for the ANC."

He appealed to the audience to help the families of those who were killed.

"With the festive season approaching, we are deeply concerned about their livelihoods. They need everyone's support."

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest
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