Bloody Marikana: What the media didn’t tell you

2012-08-29 11:58

Two days after several black workers were shot and killed by police last week, September National Imbizo (SNI) members set off to Marikana.

Getting into the town was not an easy feat.

There were at least four roadblocks before you could gain access and at each one the SNI was stopped and interrogated by the police: Why were we there, why did we choose this particular time to visit, who is our leader?

“These are sensitive times,” we were told, and therefore every security measure must be followed.

The purpose of the interrogation was clear: to intimidate anyone who may have been there to fan the fires.

The town itself was ghostly quiet and the locals confirmed the obvious. Since the killings, everyone was scared to come out and talk – it was a police state.

We passed through a residential area no different from any other squatter camp, but this black dump was next to South Africa’s biggest platinum mine and feeds it with cheap black labour.

At the rock formation at which mine workers had camped peacefully for a week, a lone man stood a few metres from us.

We called out to him, and from a distance he said he’d speak to us only if we promised not to take pictures or video footage of him.

We assured him we are from a movement that stands with the black workers of Lonmin and would therefore not compromise his security in any way. We were lucky to find him.

He was there the day workers were murdered.

It was not hard to see the trauma was taking its toll on him.

He offered to give us a tour of the murder scene and warned us that there was blood everywhere, and bits of bone.

He had obviously been over the route. He knew every corner.

“People were crushed,” he kept repeating. When he realised that we didn’t quite understand what he meant he explained that several workers were shot at and run over by “nyalas”.

He told us some of the dead could have survived had they not been crushed by these heavy-duty police vehicles.

He then takes us to a range of rocks where several hundred more workers were stationed.

There the surface is blue from whatever chemical was sprayed from a water bomb that attacked from above. The rocks, the plants and the grass is coloured a deep blue.

Workers were spray-bombed with the substance from helicopters above. Their eyes stung, they couldn’t breathe and were effectively immobilised.

Our guide confirms that the majority of those who are currently detained were in this group.

The water bomb clearly had traces of poison and one cannot help but think of Wouter Basson’s biological warfare operations during apartheid.

SNI has obtained samples of the substance and will submit it for tests.

For the rest of the guided tour, our friend shows us how several people were shot while they were hiding between the rocks and under bushes.

We see for ourselves splatters of blood that indicate the determination to dig workers out of their hiding holes and shoot them dead.

Items of clothing and shoes soiled with blood lie all around the scene. What is clear from what we are told is that this was an ambush.

The video material in mainstream media showing workers charging at the police was in fact workers running away from bullets being hurled from behind.

Why would workers armed with knobkerries charge at armed police? The workers were completely surrounded and what we’ve been seeing in the media is only half the story.

There was clearly a mission: shoot to kill, thus the deployment of the army.

Throughout our conversation with the worker, he keeps digging into his pocket for a phone that is in tatters.

He explains that it’s his friend’s phone who was crushed in the carnage. It’s all he has left of his friend.

He explains that he wants to get someone to check the phone and get his friend’s information from it. There’s an uncomfortable silence.

He knows as well as we do the phone cannot be revived, that his friend is not going to come back to life but none of us say it.

What is there to say, really?

This report was brought to you by the SNI Operation Marikana crew and are their views.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.