It is five years today since the most lethal single use of force against civilians in decades occurred in South Africa at Marikana. On 16 August 2012, the South African Police Service opened fire on a crowd of striking mineworkers at Marikana, some 100km northwest of Johannesburg in the North West Province. The fateful event left 34 mine workers dead, 78 wounded and more than 250 people were arrested. The protesting mineworkers were demanding a wage increase at the Lonmin Platinum Mine. Lonmin is listed on the stock exchanges in London and Johannesburg. The company engages in the discovery, extraction, refining, and marketing of platinum group metals (PGMs) and boasts to be one of the world’s largest primary producers of PGMs. The massacre was the biggest incident of police brutality since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and it revived memories of the callousness suffered under Apartheid.
The Marikana massacre has disfigured the South African conscience, remembered as a bloody demonstration of the country’s widespread, age-old contradictions and shattered promises of a better life for the people of South Africa. The living conditions and the wages of the thousands of miners and the broader community in Marikana, which caused the strikes and protests in the first place, remain the same as they were in 2012 and before. Nothing has changed! The anger remains, the pain untold and the memories unfading. As if that is not enough for the affected families, justice is still to be served. The tragedy is compounded by the scandalous fact that no one has been convicted for the murders and grievous bodily harm of the protesting miners.
Publish What You Pay- South Africa (PWYP-SA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the rampant and continuous disregard of basic fundamental freedoms and human rights by the government of South Africa and mining companies. The Marikana Massacre was expected to mark the roundabout change in the manner in which mining workers and communities are regarded, but it seems it was just another day! We speak against corruption in the extractive sector and the involvement of the heavy hand of the government against civilians who protest to call for basic human rights.
We express our solidarity with the workers, widows, orphans and the general community of Marikana on the 5th anniversary of the fateful event. We feel and share the pain and we extend our hand in solidarity. We continue in the struggle for justice, fair wages and improved living conditions for Marikana and the rest of South Africa