Marikana six years on: ANC-led government still fingered for death of miners

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa. (File photo: Lucas Ledwaba/City Press, file)
AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa. (File photo: Lucas Ledwaba/City Press, file)

Six years after the Marikana massacre, union and opposition leaders are still laying the blame for the death of miners in the North West town at the door of the ANC-led government.

On August 16, 2012, police shot and killed the 34 miners during a strike for better wages at Lonmin mine. However, in the days leading up to the massacre, 10 others were killed, including six mineworkers, two police officers and two Lonmin security officials. 

Speaking at the sixth commemoration of the massacre on Thursday, near the koppie where the killings took place, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa maintained that ANC-led government was culpable.

READ: The forgotten widows of Marikana: 'It's like our husbands killed themselves'

He said the killings were a result of having to "appease particular foreign investors by showing visible action taken to protect their investment".

"The 34 comrades perished at the hands of the toxic collusion between monopoly capital and a fascist state," said Mathunjwa.

"The special forces were deployed from all provinces with a mission to kill. They brought mortuary vehicles and thousands of rounds of ammunition, determined to kill their fellow brothers, their fellow fathers and their uncles."

Letter to Cyril 

He also warned that those who issued the command to open fire on the striking miners, would be hauled before the International Criminal Court because the massacre was a crime against humanity. 

"No wonder our government recently wanted to pull out as a member of the International Criminal Court." 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who attended the commemoration, also said that the ANC was to blame for the massacre and that August 16 should be declared a public holiday in remembrance of the events. 

"How long must we wait [for justice] to conclude that the ANC is complicit in the events that happened here," Maimane said. 

"When I was here last year, I said that I would write Jacob Zuma a letter asking him to declare 16 August a public holiday. He said never!"

"Yesterday I wrote another letter to Cyril Ramaphosa and I am still waiting on his response. I am not expecting anything positive."

OPINION: Marikana: It's time Ramaphosa moved on accountability and reparations

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa followed suit. 

He said that there were no repercussions for those involved in the killings under the current government. 

"The government killed people right here in Marikana, but not a single person has been arrested. They have all the information as to how these people were killed. What is it they want us to do?" said Holomisa. 

"Down with murderers, down."

'They are cowards'

One of the injured miners, Lungisile Maduna, also spoke at the event and recalled that they had been retreating when police cornered them and shot.

"On that day, I got injured on that second hill over there," Maduna said, pointing towards the koppie which has become known as Scene Two, where 17 miners were killed. Seventeen others were killed near the kraal, which is known as Scene One. 

"They are cowards these men. They should never have shot at people that had their hands raised," said Maduna. 

"We went down the hill and when we got to a kraal just behind where we are now…the police shot stun grenades at us."

"After that, they shot at us. The men next to me and others fell right there."

Maduna said they were then pushed back to Scene Two.

"That is where I was hit, after being chased by a white helicopter with doors open on both sides."

"We got shot for nothing. It was all lies what happened there. Let me leave it there because this still disturbs me."

Mathunjwa added that those present on that fateful day were not fighting against the government, but for a liveable wage.

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