Marikana like Sharpeville in all ways that matter

2013-07-28 10:00

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Tebogo Mokgope


I would like to comment on the editorial you published that was written by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya on cautioning against comparing Marikana to Sharpeville, (“Marikana not like Sharpeville tragedy”, City Press, July 21 2013).

Firstly, I think Marikana would not have happened had we had a government that cared for and addressed the interests of its electorate.

It is shameful and degrading that the government that came to power through the blood and sweat of so many of the black working class should do the same as its undemocratic predecessor.

Who says the 34 miners killed on August 16 2012 were not innocent?

If Moya had paid attention to developments at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, he will have picked up the evidence that clearly indicates how several workers were shot in the back.

Many of the workers were killed while running away from the police and not towards them, as was previously reported.

Those workers were innocent and not a threat to the police. That can be compared to Sharpeville as killing people that are not a threat is the same.

The Marikana massacre was

an attack on basic rights, as outlined in the Freedom Charter as well as in the Constitution.

The right to a living wage is a universal right the mining companies have been impeding on for years.

Many rich people in this country have gained their wealth through paying low wages and turning a blind eye to the poor conditions that workers in the mining sector have to work in.

There is no way the Oppenheimers, Motsepes and Ramaphosas of this world could have amassed so much wealth without dehumanising workers and treating them as subhuman by refusing to pay a living wage.

This is similar to the cause of the people from Sharpeville, who were demanding a right not to be discriminated against.

Moya argues that, unlike Marikana, there were no grey areas with Sharpeville, and no need for a commission to clarify and investigate what really happened.

Well, sir, only liberals and others blinded by the media believe that there are grey areas.

For the majority, it is clear what went down on the koppie on that fateful Thursday: innocent miners demanding a living wage posed a threat to

the government and mining companies, and needed to be dealt with.

Marikana has been an embarrassing development for the governing party and its allies.

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