Eerie silence at mine after massacre

2012-08-17 08:32

Rustenburg - An eerie silence hung over Lonmin's Marikana mine on Friday, following deadly clashes between the police and protesters the previous day.

The area seemed quiet, except for police clustered at the bottom of the hill where striking miners had established their base prior to the massacre in which more than 30 people died.

A newly-erected razor wire fence divided the hill from the nearby informal settlement.

By 07:00, two lone residents had emerged from their dwellings and, glancing at the police nyalas outside, they made their way to the road to catch a taxi.

'Police did everything they could'

On Friday morning, movement on the road to the area was unrestricted, in contrast to the previous day, when mine security guards manned two checkpoints and questioned journalists.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told Talk Radio 702 on Friday that more than 30 people were killed and that "many" more were injured. NUM’s Frans Baleni told 702 Talk Radio that 36 people had been killed.

"Police did everything they could... but people [miners] said they were not leaving and are prepared to fight," he said.

North West health department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said 25 bodies had been removed from the scene and taken to the Phokeng Forensic Mortuary.

On Thursday, Captain Dennis Adriao said police had to use force to protect themselves.

"The SA Police Service was viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms," he said.

Protests linked to union rivalry

"The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defence, were forced to engage the group with force."

The deaths followed those of 10 people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and three other men - killed since protests began at the mine a week ago.

The protests are believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine.

Workers also wanted higher wages. They claimed to be earning R4 000 a month, with those living outside the hostel earning an extra R1 000. Reported demands have included pay of R12 500 a month.

  • FeZ14 - 2012-08-17 08:39

    Stunned and shocked..

      clifford.sithole.5 - 2012-08-17 09:19

      The police have used apartheid style tactics here. Shooting un-armed peacefull protestors in the back.I could not help myself but cry watching the shocking news footage.

      OmegaFenix22 - 2012-08-17 09:35

      Yes Clifford - Peaceful protesters who dont carry guns, knobkieries and pangas, peaceful protesters who have not already caused the death of 10 other people earlier this week. Seriously how can you be this blatantly ignorant?

      danny.archer.589 - 2012-08-17 09:50's simple, Ken. If this is not a massacre, and I agree with Jason that it is not, then Sharpeville cannot be deemed a massacre either. The situations are no different in terms of the cops defending themselves.

  • kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-17 08:40

    Hoping this silence remains.

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-17 08:40

    "The protests are believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine." Their national leaders must go to jail for causing these deaths.

  • kaz.hse.7 - 2012-08-17 08:47

    And in other news, President Jacob Zuma arrived in Maputo for more important business....

      shane.primmer - 2012-08-17 09:00

      Nero plays his fiddel while Rome burns.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-08-17 08:49

    The blame for these deaths lies squarely on the shoulders of the union bosses who earn massive incomes whilst instigating unrest among their members.

  • leaproach.thekeeper - 2012-08-17 08:54

    After assault rifle fire there is usually silence. A projectile travelling at more than 2 000 feet per second has explosive and devestating effects on living flesh. FMJ (full metal jacket) bullits can easily pass through three, if not five, human bodies.

  • irma.white.9 - 2012-08-17 08:57

    It's so sad that it had to come to this. But what can you do if there are angry, violent, weapon weilding protesters ready to attack you. It couldn't have been easier for the police officers either- they also have to go home and sleep knowing they killed a person or two.

  • drishworth - 2012-08-17 08:59

    This is sad indeed and cause for real concern. However, I can't help feeling that the police should've done this days ago - these strikers have been causing death and destruction for the past week............. if this kind of action is needed to restore law in order then so be it. Now, let the unruly thugs at University of Tshwane Technology take note - behave like a savage, get treated like a savage. A liberal constituion is all well and good but it is abused in this country and this is the result.

  • kenneth.roselt - 2012-08-17 09:02

    how would the reporter have worded the title of this article had it been the cops laying there - this was no massacre at all, these people were armed and had every intention of bringing harm to the officers there.

      kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-08-17 09:28

      Armed people who already killed people and two officer charging at u, That was not MASACRE

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-08-17 09:05

    Go on the police! Too many of our cops are killed in the line of duty as it is. Protect yourselves guys. To everyone saying the cops should not have fired, ask yourself what you would do in that situation. Are you willing to die so that these miners can get an increase?

  • michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-17 09:05

    Can't believe the police just did that, stunned to say the least.

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-17 11:55

      Is it just me or is News24 run by Mugabes henchmen? I honestly dont mind comments whether positive or negative, an argument is good and gets the real issues out on the table. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

  • thabo.promise - 2012-08-17 09:17

    May their souls rest in shows dt police officers in Mzansi works under poor management.wht a trauma

  • john.nel.927 - 2012-08-17 09:18

    The New South Africa's Sharpville. A day of shame...

  • fezilefezzweezy.dinwa - 2012-08-17 09:21

    Police did all that was in their ability to avoid using live rounds but @ the end it had to come that, before you can blame the men in blue, put yourself in their shoes, and don't forget that it was specialised unit that were dispatched there, so such outcome was innline!

  • quintez.nabal - 2012-08-17 09:27

    I watched the news last night and I have to say,those heavy puffs off dust about 3 to 4 meters in front of the police's feet wasn't from rocks or wind or anything else but gun fire!!!they were being shot at by the strikers!what was they supposed to do just stand there?as I see it the police had all the right in the world to fire sharp amo and deserves a tap on the shoulder for standing up against these thugs!especially after 2 of their fellow officers were brutally murdered on monday!

  • mulaudzi.polite - 2012-08-17 09:27

    Shocked. this aint suppose to happen in the new democratic sa.

  • James.A.Green - 2012-08-17 09:29

    There's something fundamentally wrong with how this all came about. Forget about the low wages, forgot about the working conditions. Trade Unions are there to provide peaceful arbitration and mediation. Increasingly it has become an issue of not how willing to negotiate the two parties (workers and unions vs employer) but who asserts themselves more aggressively, and as of recent years, more violently. Trade Unions are no longer a viable means to peaceful negotiations, and I feel often much of the anger at our governments failed promises is directed at companies and firms our economy is built on. And understandably so, after all apart from government your employer is oft the largest influence on your life. I can only pray and hope that an incident like this will serve as a catalyst for action from our government to change the problems leading to these violent outbursts

      laura.baasch - 2012-08-17 12:12

      Amen to that James. Amen.

  • Richard - 2012-08-17 09:34

    When they murdered the two police men and 2 security officers, they should have stopped all negoiations and the army should have been called in, rounded up the lot of them and charged them all with murder and inciting violance... What were the police to do to protect themselves from getting shot with their own wepons?

  • raps.magans - 2012-08-17 10:03

    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 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.

  • boitumelo.metseeme - 2012-08-17 10:06

    This FAT CATS must give our people wt is due to them.People are working for peanuts yet the economic demands (cost of living) are high.This is HIGH time that our government NATIONALISE miners because this wont end. It started in IMPALA, now LONMIN, so who is next?

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2012-08-17 11:25

      Just a heads up Boitumelo- the company owning the mine has officially stopped all production at all its facilities in South Africa, so guess who is going to be out of a job after this mess. Does it still seem such a good idea

  • pokum - 2012-08-17 10:10

    Why is it that people dont think of their loved ones, how can you charge at the police with weapons' one you start firing on the police they will return was a matter of defending their lives...the police are not robotic antities that are expandable, they are son's, father's brothers , they are human and they have family that will feel their loss. this was so unnecessary...what happened to peaceful protesting

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-08-17 10:15

    Sick disgusting action by the police force, Using Assault weapons to stop the strikers descending down the hill towards them,an unnecessary loss of life, only miners were killed yesterday, as they had no chance against the police and their assault weapons. Time for the rest of the world to call sanctions against South Africa until they get their priorities right. And I really don't care what you say to me, Disgusting actions by SAPS Cowards.

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2012-08-17 11:33

      Carolyn- they were shooting at the police and had already killed 10 other people, really, what would you have done please enlighten us ill educated and uninformed in these matters, because right now you don't wash as the sharpest tool in the shed. They shot at attacker who were armed and rushing them with the intent to hurt, probably kill them, really wake up.

      jacqueline.engelbrecht.54 - 2012-08-17 12:51

      CArolyn, the police actions were appropriate. They were outnumbered and had exhausted all other avenues. They tried tear gas, barbed wire and water cannons. It didn't work. When the first life was taken last week they should have stepped in and ended it. 10 innocent people were killed including 2 police officers who were HACKED to death and their fire arms were found amongst the fallen protestors. How exactly would you propose to "dialogue" or "negotiate" with an angry mob charging at you with sticks, guns, pangas, metal pipes etc? Oh and by the way, if they call for sanctions, SA is royally and irrevocably screwed.

  • christina.setloboko - 2012-08-17 10:52

    what were police suppose to do really? they are also human, what happened was tragic, but i blame the unions for not been able to convince their supporters to stop being violent. May their soul rest in peace.

      jacqui.c.baumgardt - 2012-08-17 12:01

      spot on, Christina.

  • laura.baasch - 2012-08-17 10:53

    Daily I read comments on both iol and news24 and I'm sickened to my stomach by the white mentality in South Africa. Everything always comes down to race... everything always seems to revolve working against the government not with it. All my pale comrades are agressive negative and frankly complete racists for the most part. I'm deeply ashamed to think international visitors might be reading all this hate mail after every article. Without fail everyday there are at least twenty people who have to add their two cents that have little to do with the article and they simply use the opportunity to re-enforce ugly stereotypes and an awful attitude. In this one alone I've seen people mock sangomas, African culture, the ANC which had no real involvement and blame parties who simply were not at fault. Why aren't the real issues being adressed? Why should a platinum mine making an absolute fortune be taking complete advantage of their staff. Why should people be starving and breaking their backs so a select few (regardless of their race) be reaping the rewards? Why are we not progressing as a nation and healing past hurts and starting to learn that violent protest is no longer necessary as a means of communication? How can we begin to instill a new culture of peaceful negotiation?

      irma.white.9 - 2012-08-17 11:17

      Come on, surely you cannot be so blind that you cannot see the "bloody agents" and "white people must go home" and "white people will be chased out this country" comments? I agree there are some horribly arrogant and disgusting comments coming from white people that make me ashamed too, but the hate is not only on the white side. The racial hating comments doesn't just come from one side and if that's what you really think then you are delusional. And just out curiosity, what is racist about these comments? They don't mention anything about race, it just so happens that it was black protesters. I'm sure the comments would have been the same for any other race.

      Alice - 2012-08-17 11:18

      Thank you Laura for voicing out the truth about majority of White racist SAffas in this blog. These are the reasons why majority of sensible blacks refuse to vote for them, they all vowe to keep voting for ANC even though they're all aware about their deeds. I once convinced my 69 yr old mom to vote for DA. I read all these disgusting comments daily in this forum and very soon will copy and paste, print and show my mom what the majority of whites say about blacks in 2012. She has no Internet acess.

      laura.baasch - 2012-08-17 11:49

      Okay so if I acknowledge that's it's not only white readers capable of and taking part in racist commentary then that justifies the white behaviour? That makes perfect sense... if perhaps you lived approximately 2000 years ago and adhered to the stone age principal of "an eye for an eye"? How about this for an idea... evolve? I am merely expressing my disappointment with South Africans (particularly white) voicing themselves they way they do on a public forum viewable to international eyes. I'm deeply ashamed that people have to time to sit online venting hateful sentiments instead of contributing to fixing this nation. Max du Preez recently said "We Afrikaners remember the Anglo Boer War of 110 years ago, but we want black South Africans to forget apartheid that ended 20 years ago?” and I think he hit the nail on the head with the white mentality in our country. We cant expect to simply end apartheid and then want it to be forgiven and tucked away neatly after 300 years of continuous human rights abuse... and then when it's not forgiven have the audacity to claim it's reverse racism and act the victim? it's time for us to wake up and do a little more than complain about the ANC instead of take some flipping responsibility for this mess.

      laura.baasch - 2012-08-17 12:06

      @Leonardb1 So let me get this straight.... you think South Africa is a mess because of the ANC over the last twenty years? Are you telling me that you're not going to admit that thanks to over 46 years over rule by the National Party who made it their core focus to rape our land of mineral resources, completely strip the majority inhabitants of their dignity, freedom, EDUCATION and ability to earn a FAIR living? You're going to sit back and say these people working in the mines are a result of poor current governance instead a direct result of two to three generations of black people being stripped of education or money? let's say a miner is 28 years old... means his parents are probably at least 42... think bantu education, think parents who were gardners / cleaners / miners. When was this adult afforded the opportunity to better himself with access to resources like good schools or healthy food or a warm home? If you came from generation after generation of people who can barely read and write... not for lack of brains or potential but because WHITE people deliberately took this basic human right form them don't you think you'd be in a similar nasty predicament as these mine workers? Arent you perhaps being a little shortsighted and quick to dis-own your role in the apartheid legacy?

      bobo.jane.1 - 2012-08-17 12:14

      "Okay so if I acknowledge that's it's not only white readers capable of and taking part in racist commentary then that justifies the white behaviour? That makes perfect sense..." No Laura Your comment doesn`t make sence... So what you are saying is that white brothers and sista`s should just keep their pie holes shut whenever they get verbally abused because they have not yet evolved to be this enlightened super human beings ? Your stament clearly shows that you think white people must be superior above other races and can therefore not comment as they feel.. That`s racist thinking from your part aswell.

  • omphile.pheelwane - 2012-08-17 11:17

    No all resources were used by the SAPS to avoid the genocide they carried out... Poor planing and lack of training in crowd control had led to a shooting range of the workers. The erected fence was supposed to be the first thing they had done after the first mayhem...

      stephanie.sutherland41 - 2012-08-17 11:29

      You can't control an armed crowd intent on violence. They won't listen, thus this result leaving many dead. Violence begets violence.

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-08-17 11:36

      Maybe the old gov. was right in thinking about a different teargas to calm a crowd? Where is the good dr when you need him?

  • emil.henrico - 2012-08-17 11:31

    Funny.... the comments bellow, WHAT THE F.... should the police not do any thing at ALL, would be intresting to see what would have been said if the protesters were all white ?

      Happyness - 2012-08-17 12:18

      Oh stop stirring. It's not like it was only white cops shooting them and I am more than sure that they would have reacted the same to white protesters. Find something better to do.

  • veda.nieuwoudt - 2012-08-17 15:22

    Die kind wat dood geskiet is deur soldate by Nyanga\r\n\r\nDie kind is nie dood nie\r\ndie kind lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder\r\nwat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur van vryheid en heide\r\nin die lokasies van die omsingelde hart\r\nDie kind lig sy vuiste teen sy vader\r\nin die optog van die generasies\r\nwat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur\r\nvan geregtigheid en bloed\r\nin die strate van sy gewapende trots\r\n\r\nDie kind is nie dood nie\r\nnòg by Langa nòg by Nyanga\r\nnòg by Orlando nòg by Sharpville\r\nnòg by die polisiestasie in Philippi\r\nwaar hy lê met ‘n koeël deur sy kop\r\n \r\nDie kind is die skaduwee van die soldate\r\nop wag met gewere sarasene en knuppels\r\ndie kind is teenwoordig by alle vergaderings en wetgewings\r\ndie kind loer deur die vensters van huise en in die harte van moeders\r\ndie kind wat net wou speel in die son by Nyanga is orals\r\ndie kind wat ‘n man geword het trek deur die ganse Afrika\r\ndie kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis deur die hele wêreld\r\n \r\nSonder ‘n pas\r\n\r\nIngrid Jonker.

      veda.nieuwoudt - 2012-08-17 15:49

      Sorry, poem scrambled by the interwebs. ;)

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