SA media denounce mine 'killing field'

2012-08-17 13:44

Johannesburg - South African media on Friday condemned as a "killing field" the Marikana platinum mine, where dozens of people died as police opened fire on hundreds of workers waging an illegal strike.

"Bloodbath" read the Sowetan's headline, printed in red under a photo of police walking among six bodies following the shootout.

"This is an abnormal country in which all the fancy laws are enacted and the Constitution is hailed as the best on Earth. All the right noises are made and yet the value of human life, especially that of the African, continues to be meaningless," it said in a front-page editorial.

"That's what Marikana means. It has raised this unmitigated crudeness as if to awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking - it has exploded!"

'In for the kill'

The Times headline blasted "Killing field", showing pictures of workers brandishing spears and sticks, and then police walking among the bodies.

"Cops go in for the kill," read the headline in The Star, which gave a first-person account of a worker who was shot in the head, apparently by police.

The weekly Mail & Guardian, which went to press before the killings, warned: "Violence has become [the] modus operandi of such strikes, and Lonmin is no exception."

Three people died in February when an illegal strike at an Impala Platinum mine sparked similar clashes between rival unions.

The weeklong strike at Marikana left 10 dead before police moved to break up hundreds of armed workers on Thursday. That clash left between 30 and 36 dead, according to police and a union respectively, when police opened fire on the workers.

  • john.loveland.9 - 2012-08-17 13:59

    "... the value of human life, especially that of the African, continues to be meaningless." why is the Sowetan bringing race into this? And does an "Africans" life have a greater value than that of any other racial group?

  • booswig.visagie - 2012-08-17 14:02

    I feel sorry for the police and the one-side lambasting its getting from the media. I would have done exactly what they did if I was their shoes and a mob of machete-wielding gun-slinging thugs was storming me. So sad it had to come to this.

  • marius.koen.16 - 2012-08-17 14:07

    Hardly a week after our high from the Olympics we are crushed down because of this. South Africa is once again in the news, but for all the wrong reasons.

  • marius.koen.16 - 2012-08-17 14:10

    This video gives another perspective.

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-17 14:53

      Thankyou, at least someone has the balls to show what the police actually did. Screw you News24 editors for taking my report of this incident off because I spoke the truth of how the police handeled the situation.

  • akoen3 - 2012-08-17 14:14

    It's about time that criminals realized that they are not above the law. Those union leaders and that tedious sangoma should have been in the front line of attack. Telling people they are invisible is idiotic, believing that idiot is the pinnacle of stupidity. If teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons doesn't work, then do what you have to do in order to survive. Criminals surely shouldnt have more rights than the hand full of "honest" police officers who are stuck in the middle of a union war.

  • mary.kircher - 2012-08-17 14:23

    mihaip007 - you KNOW nothing, rubber bullets,and tear gas were used to no avail - the police commissioner was correct in telling the police to defend themselves against a hostile panga and gun weilding mob whose minds were inflamed by a sangoma. Both the Unions and the sangoma are to blame for this - not the police

  • david.fincham.520 - 2012-08-17 14:38

    There are no rights in this sad state of affairs. We have allowed people to get away with murder for decades and now we are seeing the fruits of this throughout our society. There is no respect for the rights of employees, employers, the rule of law, the courts etc etc. If we continue down this road we will become a society devoid of justice peace and prosperity and become a failed state. The breakdown in communication between all the parties has lead to this result. Where were the riot squad? No riot shields, no batons just blazing guns in response to a lawless armed crowd. An eye for an eye has left the nation blinded just as Ghandi had said. Where is out tolerance compassion and understand. Please let's get to the bottom of this sort out the mess and ensure that we never see it again.

  • Badger - 2012-08-17 14:42

    I wonder what the headlines would have said had the police not opened fire and were slaughtered and butchered by a machete and panga wielding mob. Something along these lines........ "Entire Police Platoon Slaughtered At Mine Strike"

      Badger - 2012-08-17 14:43

      The Media's Moto,,,,,,,,,,,, "If It Bleeds, It Read's" !!!!!

  • byron.jay.37 - 2012-08-17 14:52

    Fact of the matter. You cannot go to war with a knife where your enemy has a gun. firstly, the law of physics is clearly disregarded, and I can go on, but lastly, rationale... I don't have to say anything on that, it just does not exist.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-17 14:53

    Interestingly enough, in a video on Al Jazeera, the one union guy says that 18 years after democracy miners are still earning R3000 - they way he said it though, is like democracy = good pay no matter what your profession/job. Interesting mind set - might explain alot.....

  • kris.munzvandi - 2012-08-17 15:09

    A strike is a strike and there is nobody with the right at law to declare that it is legal or illegal. Face it when someone decides to withhold their labor, it is within their constitutional right to do so. Those countries that seek to define what is legal or illegal about strikes are trampling on workers rights to withhold their God given energy. In my view what is illegal is to bring knives, pangas and machetes. What is illegal is to use live bullets as we saw on TV. Someone is going to answer for this.

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-17 16:22

    Funny how the media labels the scene as a 'killing field' AFTER police got involved, but had nothing to say when 10 innocent people were killed in the protest......

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