News24

Marikana shooting 'like Sharpeville'

2012-08-17 09:23

Johannesburg - Political parties and organised labour have called for an urgent investigation into the shootings at the Lonmin mine in Marikana in the North West on Thursday.

A shoot-out between police and strikers at the mine left over 30 people dead, according to latest figures.

African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said it needed to be determined who had caused the confrontation between police and striking miners.

Mthembu said the ANC was shocked about what happened. "All of us feel very saddened by the violence we have seen on television," he said.

"We are requesting that our government hold an inquiry on what happened today so that all of us South Africans can come to a conclusion on who is responsible."

The Democratic Alliance said it was shocked and appalled by what had happened at Lonmin.

"We call on union leaders, the police and everyone else involved to immediately work towards a de-escalation of the conflict," the party said.

"All action must be taken to avoid further bloodshed." The DA said an urgent independent investigation was required to determine what happened and who was responsible.

"The families of everyone involved, and indeed the nation, deserve to know how and why this bloodshed occurred," it said.

Brewing tensions


The Inkatha Freedom Party on Thursday said the massacre at the mine highlighted the brewing tensions within South African society and should not be underestimated.

"Its horror should not only shock us but bring to the fore how too often conflicts in this country are dealt with through violence," IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said.

"Unless there is a fundamental change of culture at the highest level of government things will worsen."

The Congress of the People also called for an investigation by an independent body into what instigated the killings.

"In order for calm to return in that area proper policing packaged with genuine political and trade union solution to the problem must be found urgently," Cope MP Leonard Ramatlakane said.

"Cope believes the magnitude of this massacre warrants a comprehensive report by the police to Parliament's portfolio committee on police."

The Azanian People's Organisation compared the violence in Marikana to the Sharpeville and Soweto shootings.

"As Azapo we can only describe the situation as a massacre not different from March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville; June 16, 1976 in Soweto and June 17, 1992 in Boipatong," the party said.

Azapo called for the immediate suspension of all police who were at the scene and called for an immediate criminal investigation by an independent international body.

Zuma saddened

President Jacob Zuma was alarmed and deeply saddened at the way the dispute at Lonmin's mine in Marikana in the North West had degenerated to the tragic loss of so many lives, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

Zuma said he had instructed law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's office said in a statement on Thursday that police at the mine did their best in a volatile situation.

"The Minister [Mthetwa] is now considering requesting the President to institute a full inquiry into this whole situation, not just around what happened today but holistically at this situation," said spokesperson Zweli Mnisi.

"Now what should police do in such situations when clearly what they are faced with are armed and hardcore criminals who murder police?"

Lonmin were treating developments at the mine with the utmost seriousness, chairperson Roger Phillimore said in a statement.

"The South African Police Service have been in charge of public order and safety on the ground since the violence between competing labour factions erupted over the weekend," he said.

The violence claimed the lives of eight of the company's employees and two police officers, said Phillimore.

The company deeply regretted the loss of life in what it saw as clearly a public order rather than labour related matter.

Violence orchestrated - Cosatu


The National Union of Mineworkers said on Thursday the violence at the mine was extremely regrettable.

"We are saddened and regret this further loss of life which has just happened, bringing roughly the total number of deaths to 30," said general secretary Frans Baleni.

"It is extremely regrettable. We hope a full investigation will be done and hope the perpetrators will be brought to book."

Cosatu said the violence that resulted in the shooting of a number of people on Thursday at the mine in Marikana was being orchestrated.

"Broadly we believe there is an orchestration, a planned violence, because the violence that people are seeing today has been going on since January," said general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi said Cosatu was extremely concerned about the loss of so many lives.

The South African Council of Churches said the problems at Marikana should be peacefully resolved.

A SACC delegation paid a pastoral and fact-finding visit to both workers and management at the mine, the council said.

"The impression we gained is that both parties are willing to engage one another provided the level of hostility is reduced to allow peaceful interaction and resolution."

The SACC committed itself to assist in making negotiations proceed and called on police to exercise restraint in the use of force as they sought to maintain law and order.

Comments
  • Mzakes - 2012-08-17 09:30

    Investigate what exactly? DA and others parties are seeing a points machine here.

  • amanda.victor.92 - 2012-08-17 09:32

    And now what ANC? During Apartheid the police were portrayed as racist pigs to the world. And now when it happens under your government? What now ANC??????

  • tsomakae.dire - 2012-08-17 09:33

    Rubbish, Sharpville protesters were innocent and unarmed whereas those miner were thugs who carried dangerous weapons against the police.

  • msendi - 2012-08-17 09:35

    Sad, very sad… Condolences to the families of the deceased… Life goes on to the leaders of the Unions. They are waiting for their huge salaries at the end of the month…

  • JaredVN - 2012-08-17 09:35

    I demand that the ANC regime's actions be declared a crime against humanity, that the UN imposes sanctions against the ANC, and that all international sports tours are cancelled immediately. That is what happened after Sharpeville and Soweto 76, and why should this time be any different?

  • mike.dufham.7 - 2012-08-17 09:36

    Please investigate this incident and then close the mine. Let the employees then find alternative employment. Will serve them right. The case of "bite the hand that feeds you", is it not?

  • GavinPen - 2012-08-17 09:36

    Well ANC, lets see, hold your enquiry but then decide how you are going to deal with the cash cow and vote harvesters that organised labour are for you!!

  • david.barkhuizen - 2012-08-17 09:36

    "Broadly we believe there is an orchestration, a planned violence, because the violence that people are seeing today has been going on since January," said general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

  • ro3lof - 2012-08-17 09:40

    If the police were still allowed to use rubber bullets, live ammunition would never have been used and the chances of death would have been so much less.

  • Jason - 2012-08-17 09:40

    Ok bottom line, 2 security guards killed by protesters, then 2 policemen hacked to death! 400 cops against 4000! the crowd charged the police. They were justified in the use of deadly force. The problem is not with the police, the problem is with a country that thinks its ok to hold illegal violent protests and intimidate law enforcement and think there will be no repercussions.

  • joe.moer.14 - 2012-08-17 09:40

    "Azapo called for the immediate suspension of all police who were at the scene and called for an immediate criminal investigation by an independent international body." - I'll send some miners armed with machetes, pangas and spears after you and see how you react.

  • Gavin - 2012-08-17 09:43

    This should never have happened, issuing the cops with automatic rifles was never gonna end well. I know that the mob was responsible for killing people the day before. But when I was a riot cop, we used to disperse larger crowds, with bird shot, rock salt, tear smoke and water cannons. Now they're picking up shell casings and counting bodies - putting out the fire with petrol will only ignite peoples outrage and anger.

  • amused.reader.7 - 2012-08-17 09:43

    This is what happens when unions wield too much power, and the masses are fed on a diet of entitlement. IMHO if you demand a 75% pay increase when inflation is running at 5.5% and unemployment at 27%, and you then threaten the lives of fellow workers who dont want to join your strike, and murder the policement who are trying to maintain the law you then you wont get any sympathy from me. That said, please ANC, spare me the crocodile tears. Stop dividing us around race, stop fighting amongst yourselves for a share of the loot, ditch your alliance with COSATU so you can do whats best for the country and not what is best for those lucky enough to have jobs, and do what you promised. I still remem,ber the 'JOBS JOBS JOBS' promise. Growing our economy to provide for all is our ONLY hope. You are more interested in POWER POWER & MORE POWER

  • tc.mngenela - 2012-08-17 09:43

    This is not right - Its SAD:(

  • procold2 - 2012-08-17 09:44

    its the culture that has been bred,sad but this is going to happen more and more

  • willem.dehaan.94 - 2012-08-17 09:44

    If those mine workers had behaved themselves and obeyed the police orders nothing would have happened. But no, they had to show force and aggression. They got what they were looking for. If people refuse to listen to reason and to obey authority they must not complain when they are hurt. Or did they expect the police to stand there as mugs and be assaulted and killed by them?

  • john.loveland.9 - 2012-08-17 09:46

    Looks like every political and religious group want in on this one. Unfortunately our unions are too powerful and politically connected. They have been allowed to get away with murder and destruction for so long by their political bed-fellers. Until the ANC learns to stand on its own feet and govern the country as opposed to trying to please the ANCYL, COSATU and the Communist party, demonstrations and protests will just continue to become more violent.

  • Jason - 2012-08-17 09:47

    why are comments not being posted??

  • Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-08-17 09:48

    Deja vu.

  • vuyo.ntsinde.7 - 2012-08-17 09:49

    AZAPO is correct on sharpeville . The ANC can no longer claim to represent the poor and victimised , when it kills them also , when they fight for their rights .

  • valerie.mathers1 - 2012-08-17 09:51

    What would you do if a very large mob that sizewas about to attack one. I would have done the same thing as the police to protect myself.

  • qandam - 2012-08-17 09:53

    Kubulwawa umntu kuthiwe uzenza Bin Laden? Kusemgodini kuyabulawana kude kufe 45 yonke yabantu ngathi kungexesha localu calulo? Inoba konakele phi, xa abantu bebulala kabuhlungu ngoluhlobo. Ibuhlungu lento yenzeka kwilizwe lethu, tataMongameli sibonise ubunkokheli bakho ungathuli ngathi awuboni, Ndithi mna hamba uyothetha nabasebenzi/nabaqeshi ngokwakho.

  • willem.dehaan.94 - 2012-08-17 09:53

    Why is Zuma "saddened"? Not enough machine gun activity?

  • terry.burne - 2012-08-17 09:53

    Unfortunately this is what happens when you allow mobs to gether and rampage - eventually a point will be reached where this is going to happen. The problem lies squarely at the feet of the ANC who have not enforced law and order, preferring instead to use the police as an extension of the ANC.

  • bryon.mackie - 2012-08-17 09:53

    Typical police brutallity, what happened to water cannons, teargas

  • raps.magans - 2012-08-17 09:55

    am very saddened by the turn of events whether be the action of Miners or the self-defence strategy of the police,i am heart broken guys,i am down,feel so pity,people dying like rats reminiscence of apathied years!!s##t ,this is bullsh@t why cant the police ministry consult strategist who have skills and experience in dealing with mobs l without waiting to use lethal force?Otherwise we would not have witnessed such a tragedy at the behest of in-experienced ,triger happy police against lunatic & over-zealous miners.

  • koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-08-17 09:57

    Ironically enough I think the action that was taken is indeed minimizing bloodshed. P.S. Vavi, you really concerned about the loss of life or more concerned about the loss of membership fees?

  • jackie.stone.501 - 2012-08-17 09:59

    I saw only police man in the front shooting black people

  • timgaulza - 2012-08-17 09:59

    Two policemen and two security guards were killed by these striking workers, and they would have us believe they were pleading with the cops? They were armed and the police understandably feared for their lives.

  • jackie.stone.501 - 2012-08-17 09:59

    I saw one brave policeman shooting black people

  • michael.a.collins.9659 - 2012-08-17 10:00

    AZAPO, go back to sleep, news24 wake up!!!

  • duncan.roderick - 2012-08-17 10:00

    now the Police must be suspended... wow rather suspended and alive, sad day when the police must just stand back and be slaughtered by a bunch of puppets. I take my hat off to the SAPS officers and seemingly have no rights. Most of us are unhappy with our salaries/Wages. Many Educated people only get Salaries of R4000 a month in industries that make millions yet they dont behave like hooligans. too often in RSA these wage demand protests are becoming violence with damage to public property and threats of violence to the police. This one just went the whole 9 yards... President Zuma and the ANC it is time to promote a peaceful South African and stop thinking of everything as the "struggle" thats over, stop singing and talking about warfare and killing for what you want, you reap what you sow sir. THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW

  • ntoi9 - 2012-08-17 10:00

    The situation is horrible and I cannot imagine how the families of the dead miners feel today having said that I love the South African Police, and I mean that sincerely, these brave men and women put their live son the line for us on a daily basis, going out on the streets of South Africa is like playing russian roulette with your life and SAPS do it daily becuase of their love of the job and because, well it is their job to protect us, each and every one of us, so imagine what it must be like to be faced with such blatant animosity as what happened at the mines - put yourselves in SAPS shoees, they also have families they want to get home to, the miners have behaved badly, killing police officers and fellow miners, really what would you have done if faced with the same situation? Remember, until you have walked a mile in any police officers shoes.... none of us are in a position to make a judgment call. Love you SAPS, stay safe and go home to your families, God bless

  • alex.tarr.52 - 2012-08-17 10:01

    Like Sharpeville in the sense that there was state-sanctioned killing. Not like Sharpeville in the sense that negotiations were attempted for days before hand and the original unrest seems not to be linked to a legitimate struggle against injustice. According to Reuters this began as a turf war between "rival miners' unions". What the hell does that even mean??

  • ntoi9 - 2012-08-17 10:01

    The situation is horrible and I cannot imagine how the families of the dead miners feel today having said that I love the South African Police, and I mean that sincerely, these brave men and women put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis, going out on the streets of South Africa is like playing russian roulette with your life and SAPS do it daily because of their love of the job and because, well it is their job to protect us, each and every one of us, so imagine what it must be like to be faced with such blatant animosity as what happened at the mines - put yourselves in SAPS shoes, they also have families they want to get home to, the miners have behaved badly, killing police officers and fellow miners, really what would you have done if faced with the same situation? Remember, until you have walked a mile in any police officers shoes.... none of us are in a position to make a judgment call. Love you SAPS, stay safe and go home to your families, God bless

  • harold.neugarten.90 - 2012-08-17 10:03

    Thats S. Africa for you in a nutshell. NO LAW AND ORDER

  • yanga.dlokolo - 2012-08-17 10:07

    Very sad, condolences to the families of the two police. if you are not happy about your salary at work why not apply for a better paying job.

  • wwrer.ww - 2012-08-17 10:09

    Communist incitement from COSATU and the SACP. That's it. Long term that is what is behind this. A war on whites. Specifically white capital. And the unions that have no mercy for business or any entrepreneurs just keep on destroying our manufacturing sector and making business impossible to do in South Africa. How many business owners can afford to pay everyone R5000 a month? Not many. The unions are ill-disciplined, strong and well paid and unemployment keeps rising. + more new laws that will deter more job creation. This has been going on for more than 20 years, ever since COSATU was founded.

  • bernard.ingram - 2012-08-17 10:13

    Good job police. Shoot the criminals. Shoot the animals, shoot until we are rid of the bad apples. Eradicate the scum. Then life can return to normal in SA.

  • prieurp34 - 2012-08-17 10:13

    AZAPO should have their heads examined, blaming the police after two police officers were shot dead and two security guards were burned alive! Can you imagine if it was AZAPO members who had to face the angry strikers as they stormed down the hill with dangerous weapons, what action would they have taken? Why did they, AZAPO, ANC and the DA, not step in after the first incident? Now that more people are dea now they want answers, pathetic in every sense!

  • i.vd.bout - 2012-08-17 10:14

    I agree that this was a brutal, cold killing by police in the same way as the Sharpeville killings were. Police should have retreated rather than use such extreme force. It is chilling to see South Africa has now returned to the ways of the old apartheid regime. It seems the time is ripe for changes to the laws governing the police. At the same time the influence of these rogue unions should be curbed in order to bring some peace to the mines.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-08-17 10:15

    "Mthembu said the ANC was shocked about what happened. "All of us feel very saddened by the violence we have seen on television," he said." Why is everybody now suddenly 'shocked and appalled and sad and...blah blah'? This has been coming for a long time now. The Government has been warned on forums like this, newspaper articles, by columnists etc. Now the loss of lives, and families now worse off, and the future consequences (and believe me this will not just go away, contrary to what the Big Spear may wish when he returns), this all aside: 1) Where was the new SAPS leader? Surely she should have been there to see 1st hand how her 'Service' handles these things? 2) Is it not now the time for political opportunists to shut up, and just maybe understand why the Army must go to the Cape Flats? 3) Could the ANC please explain why they are now shocked and sad? They are not daily being shocked and sad by the +/- 50 other murders and the +/-30 other people being killed on the roads. There is no difference between dying from a bullet on a hilltop, a stray bullet in a gangster shootout, hi-jack or a taxi rolling into a ditch. PS. Did the SAPS use sharp pointed ammo because the water cannon could not get up the hill?

  • joel.serumola - 2012-08-17 10:16

    This is nothing like sharpville

  • tshifhiwa.vandermunalisi - 2012-08-17 10:17

    The problem is the union leaders who use uneducated people for their own benefits.

  • mashudu.ndou.3 - 2012-08-17 10:19

    This was very barbaric was police.

  • robertmroba.mahlagaume - 2012-08-17 10:22

    There we are demo-cracy of S.A

  • moi.carla.1980 - 2012-08-17 10:22

    I'm in full support of the police in this instance. This mob has already hacked one policeman to death and murdered another 8 people. They clearly have no qualms when it comes to taking someone else's life. The police gave them a chance to put down their weapons, they refused and started advancing on the police. What else could they do?

  • Robert - 2012-08-17 10:27

    " Unless there is a fundamental change of culture at the highest level of government things will worsen." Ja....@ the " lowest levels " as well.

  • silas.mapuroma - 2012-08-17 10:42

    Armed people are at WAR, after been warned then what is the next,

  • jason.slabber.3 - 2012-08-17 10:45

    The only regrettable thing here is the fact that too many police officers have unnecessarily lost their lives.