So. Africa: 5th anniversary of Lonmin Marikana massacres commemorated

The 16th of August 2017 marked the 5th anniversary of the killing of 34 mine workers by South African police at Lonmin's Marikana mine in the North West province in 2012. In total 44 people lost their lives. On the afternoon of 16th August 2012 members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) killed 34 mine workers at a Lonmin Plc owned platinum mine in the Marikana area in North West province. The killings (‘the Marikana massacre’) were preceded by a number of other incidents of violence and confrontation over the period from Friday 10th August onwards, relating to an unfolding conflict at the Marikana mine. The miners were demanding a minimum wage of R12 500 ($950) a month and improvement in living conditions, particularly housing

Lonmin has reportedly absorbed some of the family members of the killed miners for mainly general work and other underground positions. The company is also reported to have set an education fund for children of the killed miners. One of the labour unions active in Marikana, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has set up a trust to build houses for all 44 Marikana families affected; they completed the first one earlier this year and it was for shot and killed strike leader Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki's family in the Eastern Cape. However, many of the promises that Lonmin made before the tragedy, such as the construction of 5 500 housing units, are yet to be fulfilled. The Marikana massacre has put to question a number of aspects relating to business and human rights in South Africa, chief of which is the right to protest as well as the state-corporate nexus and the impacts and consequences of this collusion. In a press statement marking the 5th anniversary of the Marikana massacres, NGO Khulumani Support Group wrote "Today five years after the fateful Marikana massacre, the state-corporate nexus and the impacts and consequences of this nexus, appear as strong as ever and the widows remain excluded from the state's promised measures of repair". Bloggers have argued that the steps made are commendable but the families of the killed mine workers should still receive justice.

More background to the Marikana massacre is here, and here.

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20 August 2017

Houses promised by miners union will help but the families of those massacred in Marikana should still get justice; says blogger

Author: Thobile Hans, Forbes Africa

"Marikana: A Promise Kept Through Tears Of Grief", 16 Aug 2017

They called him the man with the green blanket. In the days leading up to the Marikana massacre, Mgcineni ‘Mambush’ Noki was at the forefront, negotiating with the police. On August 16, it will be five years since Noki died in a hail of bullets. What happened to the families of those who died with Noki in Marikana at Lonmin’s South African platinum mine?...Mathunjwa, and his union members [Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union- Amcu], were back at...[Mambush]'s village to fulfil a promise made to the Marikana families...It took five years of struggle to raise the money to build the houses; Noki’s family was the first to benefit... Houses will help. It is all the Marikana families have for now. The families hope they will get justice too.

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20 August 2017

Marikana then and now; "a tragedy that keeps unfolding", says blogger

Author: Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

"Marikana then and now — a tragedy that keeps unfolding", 18 Aug 2017

...There are fragments of confusion and chaos, of horror and trauma, that permeate the memories of the men who stood up and refused to be treated as mere units of black labour. The men who insisted that their humanity be recognised and that their employers, Lonmin, should meet them and address their wage demands — something the company never did during the strike...The Marikana narrative has always been contested. First, the government and the police sought to own it with disinformation to cover up their culpability. Forensic revelations created another narrative of what happened during the strike, and an emergent agency among the widows of Marikana has led to more intimate and personal stories of the tragedy being told. They have slowly moved away from grief and into new lives. Many work at Lonmin, mainly as cleaners, a job they find deplorable but essential to provide for their families

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20 August 2017

NGO says Lonmin should do more to address the plight of widows of Marikana massacre

Author: Khulumani Support Group (South Africa)

"Lonmin marks five years since the Marikana massacre while the agenda for redress remains incomplete", 21 Aug 2017

...While the mining company at the heart of the tragedy of August 2012 is moving on, the views, concerns and lives of the widows themselves, have seen some limited improvement. Many of their concerns have, however, not yet been fully addressed by either the company or the state...The concerns of the widows were submitted in a collectively-developed written statement that was read onto the record of the Farlam Commission...In their succinct submission, the widows appear to get to the truth of what occurred when they state:

  • Lonmin as a company which ignored the appeals of their employees for a dialogue;
  • The state / government officials who failed in their duty to manage a peaceful and fair resolution of the labour dispute;
  • Collusion between the state and Lonmin which resulted in the labelling of the strike as a criminal endeavour, rather than a legitimate labour dispute...

Lonmin has to date initiated several measures intended to address the situation of the widows:

  • It has set up an educational trust with a founding contribution of R10 million and it is providing for the education and accommodation of 157 children of the deceased mine workers;
  • It has offered employment to one alternative family member at Lonmin's Rustenburg site to help families damaged by the loss of income resulting from the death of the breadwinner

Today five years after the fateful Marikana massacre, the state-corporate nexus and the impacts and consequences of this nexus, appear as strong as ever and the widows remain excluded from the state's promised measures of repair...

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20 August 2017

Widow of killed miner says five years after Marikana massacre, union rivalry has heightened at Lonmin

Author: Poloko Tau, City Press (South Africa)

"Marikana: The wounds that will not heal", 20 Aug 2017

Silent but bitter rifts have deepened between the widows and relatives of the 46 victims of the Marikana tragedy...Aisha Fundi, widow of Hassan Fundi, a Lonmin protection services supervisor hacked to death allegedly by striking miners four days before the massacre, believes this is why tension and unease continue to thicken across the platinum belt. “Tension is far from over in Marikana and Lonmin. Union rivalry is not getting any better. But how do we end this when we can’t even bring the widows of the 2012 victims together? "We’re divided in grief as widows: those allegedly killed by striking workers and the bigger group killed by the police,” she said this week...Several members of both NUM and Amcu have been killed over the years on the platinum belt as union rivalry escalated after Amcu’s membership soared and the NUM was unseated as the majority union after the Marikana tragedy...Lonmin spokesperson Wendy Tladi said the mining company has always spoken of the 44 Marikana victims.“We have been commemorating August 2012 incidents as the week that changed our lives,” she said.


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