Mixed reaction to Lonmin shooting

2012-08-18 20:55

Johannesburg - There has been mixed reaction to the shootout at Lonmin mine in the North West province that claimed the lives of 36 people.

The Eastern Cape ANC Youth League on Saturday said it was disgusted by the action of the SA Police Service.

"The police engaged in the mass killings of defenceless workers," secretary Nkosinathi Nomatiti said in a statement.

On Thursday, a shootout erupted on a hill near the mine when police tried to disperse striking miners.

The police ministry put the death toll at 36 and the injured at 78.

Another 10 people - including two police officers, two security guards and three shopstewards from the National Union of Mineworkers - have been killed since the start of workers' illegal strike last Friday.

ANC 'partly to blame'

Protesters were demanding higher wages.

Nomatiti said the African National Congress government was partly to blame for the incident.

"We are...appalled by the ANC government which behaves in exactly the same disposition of an apartheid state when interacting with our peoples demands for economic freedom," said Nomatiti.

"This is indicative of a lack of leadership at the highest echelons of our organisation and government..."

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Prince Mangosutho Buthelezi welcomed the inquiry launched by President Jacob Zuma into the shooting incident.

"The IFP welcomes this inquiry with the hope that it will help us uncover the whole truth, so that those responsible for this senseless violence can be held responsible for their actions," he said in a statement.

Extreme poverty

"It is my hope that the Lonmin tragedy will be a wake-up call to those in power."

The Unemployed Peoples Movement said although the Marikana mine was one of the richest platinum mines in the world, its workers lived in extreme poverty.

"Most of the slain workers are rock drillers, the most difficult and dangerous work in the mine," said spokesperson Ayanda Kota.

"They do the most dangerous work in the mine and yet they earn only R4 000 a month".

He said if the strikers were protesting under the banner of the tripartite alliance they would not have been killed.

"It is the ANC government that shoot and kill protesters when they are fighting for the assertion of their humanity," said Kota.

YCL visit

The Gandhi Development Trust and Satyagraha said it was outraged by the violence.

"We urge all parties concerned to follow in the footsteps of leaders who use peaceful methods of protesting and dealing conflicts," said spokesperson Nompumelelo Zuma. The Young Communist League of SA said it would be visiting the Marikana area on Sunday, and those who were injured.

Spokesperson Mangaliso Stalin Khonza said its leadership would address the community and mineworkers.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-08-18 21:07

    all of you lame brains, next time you go sort out all this bs it is bigger than you think;!!!!

      bill.smit.7 - 2012-08-19 01:24

      This PICTURE in newspaper is calculated to cause rasist emotions. One of the few white cops..shown with his "victims" ? Thanks rubbish newsrag.

      vuyisan - 2012-08-19 11:26

      @Bill: u r right and he is the one who actually called on them to hold fire.

      jahoo.logner - 2012-08-19 13:30

      DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED HUH?? Here is the video: Warning: Contains graphic content! You can clearly see the workers storming at the police (0:11), they had no choice but to open fire. You cant run towards the police with weapons and expect nothing to happen! If you understand Afrikaans, this page explains it quite well too:

  • diegofrank.faul - 2012-08-18 21:11

    come on people lets be truthful here. Lonmin was suppose to resolve this issue with their workers the government cannot force a company to pay people more especially if they earn above minimum wage. Lonmin should have resolved this as they went behind the UNions to increase wages for drillers and the first place which led to this like to say the government must not intervene but when they run things on their own they mess them up like this. Lonmin failed to manage their own affairs with their workers. Impala managed to do it after some trouble. These guys were not peaceful at all. they called a songoma to make they strong for fighting not for negotiation. if they really wanted a peaceful talk they should have called got muti for that not to fight police. they wanted to fight police period and they killed two police who went to collect weapons after they promised to hand them over earlier. All their actions pointed to one thing. they wanted blood, they viewed the as a homeland war and did not care about law and order. the video footage shows that these guys were coming towards police and if police did not start shooting at that moment it would have been too late and they would have been overcome or shot it other as police due to the mayhem. stop politicizing the loss of life of people who did not think before them acted. they knew they have kids and they should have made their demands peacefully without spears and guns.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-18 21:29

      LonMin tried to resolve it. The CEO dropped everything and flew here Sat morn. Even with his presence things could not be worked out. We'll never know why. But before y'all grab for the "greedy capitalist' holster, try find out why - and get someone to say it on record. Bottom-line is people preferred to retreat to the hill and once they're outside negotiations and sitting on an hill, well what happens next is up to them. Not LonMin

      blip.noodlum - 2012-08-18 23:30

      Lonmin CEO Ian Farmer pays himself an obscene R1.3 million a month, and he pays his drillers (who risk their lives) only between R3000 and R4000pm. And just down the road at Implats the drillers are paid R9500pm. These discrepancies are obviously unsustainable.

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-18 23:55

      No Blip Ian Farmer does not pay himself that kind of money. He is paid by the Board and he runs a rather large company. If his salary is split amongst the Amcu members at Karee, then each will get R185 pm extra (gross). And Amcu is a small minority of the total labour force. So perhaps should reconsider about mining economics and then get outraged about the salary of a mining CEO. It is not the money that people earn that kills a business or a country, it is the time and money wasted and the appointment of ineffective, unqualified people.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-19 02:28

      It is well known that platinum mines are going through a rough time since the global economic meltdown. Just a simple calculation reveals that should management have given in to workers demands it would have added R306 000 000 to the annual wage bill of that mine. How would that have affected the sustainability of the mine?

      stirer.kathray - 2012-08-19 10:55

      And Blip's solution is to pay all the rock drillers R1.3 million each? I really don't see what the CEO's salary has to do with the tragedy. I also notice that the "defenceless demonstrators" killed some policemen and security guards, and were charging the police with pangas, spears and their own firearms. I have to ask Nkosinathi Nomatiti, even given the time to think deeply about the situation, what he would have done under the circumstances. It's tragic. What about trying to find a solution instead of trying to find someone to blame.

      Vuyo - 2012-08-19 11:06

      its not true government has a responsibility to intervene through the Employment Equity Commission when (racial) inequalities and income diferentials become so unfair.

  • charmaine.paterson1 - 2012-08-18 21:17

    These were not \defenceless\ workers or innocent. They were armed to the teeth and looking for conflict. They were responsible for the deaths of truly innocent people. The police did warn them, with rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas and they kept on coming. Don't blame the police, blame the unions that should have put a stop to this madness days ago.

  • Dylan Dillboy Allison - 2012-08-18 21:17

    Just love the racial connotations the headline picture makes... A white SAPS officer captured amongst the shot... What kind of story are you trying to portray here in actual fact??? Disgraceful... Mixed reactions... This is a union driven event that has everything to do with an attempt to muscle in on the action... And the consequences... Bloodshed!

      fishycraig - 2012-08-18 21:45

      Yes, enjoyed watching the BBC as well - you would have sworn it was just white policemen doing the shooting. I suppose what sells is the bottom line.

      tw2066 - 2012-08-19 06:09

      Well we could always argue they are cops because SAA wont allow the whites to be pilots?

      Vuyo - 2012-08-19 11:08

      the camera can't lie and the media has a right and duty to show this picture as it is the truth.

  • maryke.peacock - 2012-08-18 21:22

    Where will it all end? For a family to live on R4000 a month is appaling, but surely there must be another way to protest without resorting to violence? The police should never have been put in this position of having to sort out a labour dispute. Where were the fatcat labour lawyers and share holders while the police had to kill their fellow countrymen in the dust outside? Meanwhile this is flashed on tv screens around the world. Again breadwinners on both sides have lost their lives, while the fatcats sit in their aircon offices.

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-18 21:57

      maryke: Somewhere in all of these reports it was mentioned that R4k is net of taxes etc and is the lowest rung on the pay scale. Add to your thoughts that this represents one family member's income, not the entire family. It is not an easy job and maybe the salaies are too low....but take everything into account including medical aid etc and it is a lot more than many get.

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-18 22:08

      Looking at your FB page, it would suggest that you had a modicum of education. That would presuppose the ability to read, research and comprehend. (I am sorry if the words are not all mono-syllabic). So as below my thoughts on your post. These fat cats that you refer to, pray tell who they might be and when should they leave their offices? If you refer to mine employees/managers, well if they are outside of their offices, who would be inside managing? Would you wanted them, including these fatcat lawyers, to be outside negotiating? Well some were, even though negotiations usually take place around a table. How many of these fatcats do you believe there were? If you wanted all out of office, then do you not think that another crowd on a hilltop would not be welcomed by the Police or the miners? As for the shareholders, (fatcat or not it is not; clear from your post), they were watching the whole drama sitting at home in Soweto, Sandton, London, New York, Bloemfontein, Dieprivier and everywhere else that they individually or via a pension fund might have had their retirement funds invested. Irrespective if they earned R4000pm or R400 000pm, worrying what is going to happen with their hard earned money. Which most would want their children to inherit for a better future. PS. Most offices nowadays are rented and the landlord installs air-conditioners as part of the deal. The leasers have no choice.....

      maryke.peacock - 2012-08-19 01:16

      @ criticallyhonest, I hear what you are saying. The way their problem was dealt with did not work- thus we cannot stand back and say they should have just been happy with what they earned. The way the unions and employers dealt with their members and communicated with them should be thoroughly investigated, if only to learn from their mistakes.

      maryke.peacock - 2012-08-19 01:16

      @Desilusionada, apologies for touching a nerve, enough to be honoured to receive a visit by a multi-syllabic using intellectual to my fb page. You put your managers/shareholders in a very bad light. Being corporate also includes ethical responsibility, your excuse: “ well if they are outside of their offices, who would be inside managing?”, speaks of poor judgement of priorities. As for shareholders, you said: ‘they were watching the whole drama sitting at home in Soweto, Sandton, London, New York, Bloemfontein, Dieprivier and everywhere else that they individually or via a pension fund might have had their retirement funds invested.’ Thus, ethical responsibility has to be reclaimed, the corporate world has been able to deflect away responsibility. In the end it was left to the police service to take responsibility for failed negotiations. My vent is only out of frustration, innocent people on both sides were left to dy. We must learn from mistakes made by all parties. These issues must be resolved before they reach this point- I recognise that it is not easy. Don’t feel guilty- turn that aircon up as much as you like, as long as you respect that there are young men and woman in the Police, willing to give up their lives and clean up the mess created by those who are too busy ‘inside managing’ and stakeholders ‘ watching the whole drama sitting at home’.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-08-18 21:23

    the unions are the once laughing, there playing this goverment like a violen. (votes that count at the end of the day, wrong bed partners?)

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-18 21:25

    Now, now reporters, do not fall into the trap of trying to put balm on festering sores. There is no mixed-reaction (nice try though). There is extreme reaction on both sides. Some pick up pangas, others pound their keyboards. So please define 'mixed-reaction'. We're all beyond p'd off, outraged, disappointed, dazed and confused right now.

  • wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-08-18 21:27

    The NUM & AMCU clearly deserve part of the blame. This is one of the only articles that mentions the two Policeman that were hacked to death by the crowd, three days prior. I know that the Police are going to be the Scapegoats. Though, the real issue in this country is the violent & unlawful behavior when Strikes & Protests take place. Burning tyres; turning refuse Bins over; vandalism & in this instance, moving in on the Police when intent to attack them with Pangas; Knives; Spears; Firearms. What else were the Police meant to do ? Run away ?

      nathan.willemse.3 - 2012-08-18 21:52

      I feel for the police, the media only covered the incident when the shooting started and all of a sudden there is no footage of what led to the shooting. To crown everything 3 Degree will cover a story of bad policing during this week. The unions should be blamed for not managing their members properly

  • strauss.steven - 2012-08-18 21:38

    i wonder if the photo heading the article was posted to get some reaction? must say news 24 does their bit to stir between race groups

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-18 22:23

      The interesting thing is if you listen to the audio of the video that's being shown on eTV, it is quite clearly a white voice that is shouting 'hold your fire' and quite clearly a black voice that is saying 'I will shoot you'. Black on black doesn't sell newspapers but white on black does.

      diegofrank.faul - 2012-08-18 23:03

      yes there was a white police commander that gave the order to shoot. he was use to it during apartheid he might have thought it is still that time. you can't teach an old apartheid dog new peaceful tricks so other black police were following orders. In-fact you could hear him telling them “siege fire” . so the Whites are once again to blame for this video shows it was a white policeman who gave the order and commanding the whole operation. Apartheid police were never competent they only new “skit”. But jokes aside these guys were coming for the white cop in front on the video if police did not shoot at that moment it would have been an all out war with at-least 100 death police and miners

      diegofrank.faul - 2012-08-18 23:08

      @ Irene think the black cop was warning the guys that he will shoot him if he moves that is what you heard in the video besides moron saying you will shoot someone and shooting is two different things. The white policeman issued the fire command that is why he was issuing seize command. So its not black on black violence

      mario.dippenaar - 2012-08-19 01:49

      @faul "siege fire"? Really? That doesn't even make sense. There were no battering rams or cannons. Maybe I'm defending apartheid/capitalism/slavery by saying this, but maybe he said "seize fire"?

  • lydia.jere - 2012-08-18 21:50

    what then do we call protesters with guns firing at the legitimate peace officers? Must the police die for their appointments? do we then blame the government for people who are not ready to debate issues but resort to violent actions? is the government good when it does not excercise authority over the its subjects? please lets be reasonable. whoever condems the police actions must confess that if it was him or her being shot at by the protesters he or she was going to wait until he or she is killed. I sympathise with those who lost their family members but still maintain that the police have a duty to maintain and to enforce order and as such the citizens have no right whatsoever to allow their anger to push them to shoot at the police.

      Mpho Isaac - 2012-08-18 22:19

      thanx sir

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-08-18 21:52

    "The police engaged in the mass killings of defenceless workers," Thats rubbish!! the miners running to the police also had fire-arms, pangas, knives, spears and knobkerries at their disposal!! HOW IS THAT UNARMED??

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-18 22:24

      They're always the victim and always hard done by.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-19 02:34

      Don't forget the service pistols of the 2 police officers they murdered

  • - 2012-08-18 22:19

    I never knew defenceless to mean carrying weapons, eg. Spears, Pangas and stolen police pistols. Oh and by the way if you the ANCYL are ever in a situation where you need the cops, please reminf them what you said

  • imam.madi.129 - 2012-08-18 22:27

    It is sad when people's lives are lost. It is much more painful when those who led them to their deaths are alive and probably enjoying an expensive whiskey and smoking cuban cigars. I feel for the families of all those who lost their lives. However, the workers decided to choose violence over talking, and what killed them is that choice, not the police. The police did everything other police service anywhere in the world would have done, uphold the law and defend themselves. Language is not only for swearing, its for talking, and South Africa has a choice of 11 languages but we choose the language that even Tarzan does not use, violence. For me, the failure is that of leadership, political and labour. If management failed to pay well, then the bargaining council is for that. Political leaders across the line have failed to teach south africans to behave like people enjoying freedom, not slaves struggling to be free. Labour union leaders need to focus on labour issues and be impartial politically as that will always have their interests conflicted. I know common sense is not very common, but the truth be told, we have tolerated violence for too long and if it will take deaths of violent people for us to have few people with guns and big knives on our streets, I vote for their deaths than mine or peaceful law abiding life loving and respecting citizen. I am not a communist, capitalist, a racist/non racist or whatever the apologists of violent behaviour will want to attach!

  • vessela.hobson - 2012-08-18 22:28

    "Shoot to kill"

      blip.noodlum - 2012-08-18 23:33

      What ya gonna do when they come for you?

  • shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-18 23:46

    Is the media, goverment and unions forgetting that 10 innocent people were slaughtered by those same \innocent\ strikers? Why haven't the strikers been taken to task by the union leaders or the goverment? Who is fueling the violence? Why are the \innocent\ strikers carrying dangerous weapons? Its amazing how pictures and video clips are all focused and trying to prove that saps is the culprites, where is the photos of the stikers carrying weapons or even the one guy licking the spear he has in his hands? Here is an interesting read : or Africa reels from shock of mine massacre

  • johanneshendrik.debeer - 2012-08-18 23:58

    Protests should be unarmed. Inquiry into the union involved. The protesters. The persons who addressed them. Now it is also a political issue. Malemma or any other person not directly involved. Should not be allowed to address the protesters. The Police actions was lawfully. Let us see if the inquiry is done in a week. The officers on the scene had seconds to decide if thy want to live or die.

  • johan.vanheerden.12 - 2012-08-19 00:01

    Tie the hands of the police now and open the floodgates for even more barbaric strikes when they(the pawns) know they can't be shot at. Zuma will now try to protect his voter base

  • themba.hadebe.7 - 2012-08-19 00:27

    People blaming the police I would like to know which footage did U watch? The one I saw clearly indicates the police using water canon and bullet proof initially. On Monday strikers killed people including police and there was dead silence. This has been long coming thanks to useless political leaders and unions. The level of violence when people are striking has been steadily rising and unions have refused to take the blame. These clowns calling themselves leaders must be happy now. As for Police job well done !!!

  • themba.hadebe.7 - 2012-08-19 00:37

    Police did the good job. We cannot afford to have a country ruled with pangas ang kerries. The useless political and union leaders must take the blame. The footage I saw clearly indicates the police being shot at by this morons. The parliament should make laws to indicate to people on how to behave during strikes and to force unions to take responsibility.

  • phendulani.m.sibiya - 2012-08-19 01:14

    how can you justify human death and say they deserved it, i can't believe you are giving a round of applause to the police and say the did a good job, you are sick people most of you, so inhuman. we can have a year long debate about why did they have to do it why they didnt have to do it, but what happened there was sad, very sad and wrong.

      Sharon Gien-Cambier - 2012-08-19 08:39

      the police shot the to kill after 2 policemen were shot dead c week before this happened, and 2 security guards got burned ALIVE in their vehicle. Malema owns shares in the mine, so now after the fact he wants to play big boss. mosterd na die maal!

  • Pridie Makoya Mnguni - 2012-08-19 01:17

    Why would the police deliberately kill citizens? they wouldnt! Should people be armed when protesting? I doubt! WHY BLAME POLICE. i blame lack of education that makes most average SAn workers arm themselves when striking. Who didnt give them the education to be civilised enough to know that a strike is not war?

  • tw2066 - 2012-08-19 06:14

    So, normally there is a power triangle - big business, labour and government. In this scenario government shot labour. Somehow business will the get the blame, because government and labour are joined at the hip. This makes labour feel Communistically safe, and supports the facist ANC.

  • charnelle.bester - 2012-08-19 09:04

    Hay everybody, If you look at most of the posts on this article, it seems that there is a common denominator - The cops had no choice in the matter, I emphathise with them, they have lost two colleagues who died barbarically, the majority of people who are posting here today are in agreement. In my humble opinion it does show that even though we are still a bit bitter, we all still have faith in the police. I am actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel here! South-Africa stands united regardless, we are all against crime, poverty and poor service delivery. We must stop these leaders causing racial divide amongst us!

  • Derick van der Merwe - 2012-08-19 09:15

    Our constitution protects PEACEFULL demonstrations. The unions and there leaders that organized the openly armed and violent demonstrations broke that law. the should be held accountable and charged with culpable homicide for leading their own people to death and for murder of the 10 other people that died.

  • piet.nel.5686 - 2012-08-19 09:17

    Rules are rules in which every citizen have to comply with! So many regard rules as \not applicable to me\ which had caused a few disasters this year on the road already.\r\n\r\n Protest is not done with guns, swords, pangas! The intend of these armed strikers had been clearly demonstrated by killing Policemen and Security personnel- armed faction fight directed to the Police. It could have turned between the two opposing Labour Unions or to the Mine management and families. \r\n\r\nHow many Policemen would have died if they adhered 100% to a memorandum of \No Rubber Bullets\ without an alternative? What anergy would evolved if 435 Police was overrun by 3000 panga armed \Faction fighters\?\r\n\r\nThe Police members acted in line with the law -To Protect and to Serve. The lawbreakers ashamed this country by their action. \r\n\r\nLet us support the Law abiding Citizen and deal harshly with criminals of the Democratic government with no regret.

  • tatsee - 2012-08-19 10:01

    South Africa,hang your head in shame.

  • jimmy.thulare - 2012-08-19 18:33

    There's nothing wrong with the picture, a white police is holding a gun,the fact is civillians,blacks were killed and thats unacceptable.Shame on police brutallity

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