FRIDAY BRIEFING | Marikana massacre 10 years on: Have we thrown the lessons from the tragedy away?

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Friday Briefing

Marikana massacre 10 years on: Have we thrown away the lessons from the tragedy? 

Tuesday marks 10 years since Mgcineni "Mambush" Noki's wife and five children hugged or kissed their dad. 

Noki, or the man in the green blanket, as he became known, was regarded as the face of the miners who gathered on the koppie in Marikana to protest for a monthly salary of R12 500. 

On 16 August 2012, 30-year-old Noki was among 34 striking miners who were shot dead when police opened fire as miners came down from the koppie. His body was found at scene one. He had been shot 14 times in the head, neck, legs, buttock, elbow, calf and thighs.

Nick Davies writing for the Guardian labelled it a special nightmare for the democratic government, because it "revived images of massacres by the state in the old apartheid era, with one brutal difference – this time it was predominantly black policemen, with black senior officers working for black politicians, who were doing the shooting". 

Prior to the terrible events on that dusty Thursday, ten people were killed, including two police officers and two mine security guards.

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In this week's Friday Briefing, we reflect back on those awful days in August 2012 and ask whether any lessons have been learnt in the past decade. 

News24's columnist Ebrahim Harvey examines the impact the tragedy had on the ANC and on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who, up until that point, had enjoyed unrivalled dominance at Lonmin.

Former Cape Times editor Tony Heard considers recommendations made by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry after the massacre and whether the slow implementation of these had any impact on what we saw with the July unrest in 2021. 

Finally, SABC anchor, Bongiwe Zwane who covered the Farlam inquiry extensively reflects on how the unanswered question of who gave the order to shoot continues to haunt the massacre and prevents any kind of healing from happening. 

It's a heavy read before the weekend but a necessary one ahead of next week's anniversary. 


Vanessa Banton

Opinions editor

Lessons from the Marikana massacre have greater relevance today than it did 10 years ago

The Marikana massacre was undoubtedly the ANC's first really big moment of a crisis since 1994, which seriously questioned its legitimacy, writes Ebrahim Harvey.

16 August 2012: The day our fortunes were driven back to apartheid

Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of the Marikana massacre. Tony Heard asks whether enough has been done to prevent another Marikana? After examining the Ian Farlam report and the recent report of the Sandy Africa panel into the July unrest, Heard writes that the answer is no.

Marikana massacre: 10 years on and we still don’t know who gave the order to shoot In the absence of an answer to the critical question of who gave the order to shoot on 16 August 2012, the wounds of Marikana will most likely never heal for families who lost someone in the tragedy, writes Bongiwe Zwane.
Carlos Amato cartoon

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