Lonmin massacre: a timeline

Watch this series of videos highlighting the key events leading up to and post the Lonmin mine massacre.

April 22 - First attacks

Somiao Taula Dolane, 55, dies, a day after he and five other miners were violently assaulted on their way to work at the Karee mine in Marikana.

August 10 - Strike begins

3 000 rock drillers down tools during an illegal strike, demanding R12 500 a month instead of the R4 000 they said they receive although this figure is disputed as the strike wears on. Four miners shot and injured while on their way to work.

August 11 - More injuries, court order granted against strikers.

Two more miners hospitalised with gunshot wounds at the mine. Lonmin obtains a court order giving the striking workers until August 16 to return to work.

August 12 - Guards killed

Two security guards shot dead as a large group of strikers attack the mine. A miner is ambushed and killed on his way to work in the evening, and another miner is found dead with five gunshot wounds.

August 13 - Two policemen and one miner die

Two policemen and one striking miner are killed during clashes between police and strikers. Another policeman is critically injured.

August 16 - Footage shot on the day of the shootings



Striking miners issued with final ultimatum under court order to return to work by the opening shift of the next day, but at about 16.00, police shoot and kill 34 protesters, wounding 78. Lonmin announces its CEO, Ian Farmer, has been hospitalised with a "serious illness" and is being replaced.

TV footage of the shootings shocks the world as South Africa tries to come to grips with the tragedy.



August 17 - "Police acted in self-defence"

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega issues a statement repeating earlier claims that police had acted in self-defence.


August 18 - Malema addresses miners

Ousted ANC Youth League president Julius Malema calls for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma and police minister Nathi Mthethwa over the massacre.


August 19 - Lonmin ultimatum

Lonmin issues an ultimatum to workers to either return to work on 20 August or face dismissal. President Jacob Zuma declares 20-26 August a week of mourning.

August 20 - First court appearance

Heavy police presence and protesting sympathisers gather outside the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's Court for the first court appearance of the 257 miners arrested on the day of the shootings.


August 21  - Claims of police mischief

The UK-based Socialist Worker publishes claims that miners had been ambushed by police, supported by claims by miners.

August 22 - Breakaway union sidelined

AMCU, which led the wildcat strike, claims it has been excluded from negotiations in the aftermath of the shootings.

August 23 - National day of mourning and memorial service

A government-sponsored memorial service is held at Marikana. A rival service held at the same time, sponsored by supporters of ousted ANCYL president Julius Malema, upstages the official ceremony.


August 23 - Commission of inquiry

Retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ian Farlam appointed to head a judicial commission of inquiry into the shooting, expected to take four months.

August 29 - Abuse claims

An attorney representing some of the miners detained following the shooting claim they were assaulted while in custody.

August 29 - A new "killing field" claimed

Greg Marinovich of the Daily Maverick publishes a controversial article showing what he says is evidence that some miners were murdered away from the main shooting scene at Marikana

August 30 - Miners charged

The National Prosecuting Authority announces that 270 miners would be charged with the murder of their colleagues.

August 31 - Independent union AMCU refuses to sign negotiated peace deal, claiming it was left out of negotiations.

Acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba announces that charges are dropped.

September 2 - Murder charges dropped

NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba announces that striking miners arrested following the shooting would not be charged with the murder of their colleagues. She ascribes the initial decision to the North West director of public prosecutions.

September 5 - New threats from miners

Marikana output remains near zero, thousands of striking workers threaten to kill miners who go to work and destroy the mine if their demands for increased pay are not met.

 

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