The real villains of Marikana

2012-08-25 13:20

The horrific killings at Marikana in North West have divided public opinion into two camps: those that justify the use of live ammunition by police in combating armed miners and those that believe that police used excessive force and should be punished for that.

The real villains of the tragedy, the mine owners, are being left shielded and untouched by the tragedy for which they bear the burden of responsibility.

The fact that the majority of the miners are forced to live in squatter camps is testimony to the fact that for the owners of BHP Billiton, apartheid is alive and well.

The fact that Marikana miners earn only a fraction of what their counterparts are paid in Canada and Australia is further testimony to the fact that for the owners of BHP Billiton, apartheid is alive and well.

South African mines in general are among the most profitable in the world due to lower wages.

This fact shows that for not only the workers of Marikana but for South African mineworkers at large, apartheid is alive and well.

Although it is appreciated that government does not at present have the capacity to take the whole mining sector into public ownership, the callous disregard for the basic humanitarian principle of giving a reasonable minimum standard of living to the men working at the point of production points to an exception being made in this case.

This Marikana mine should be nationalised and workers given a share in management.

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