TAKE ACTION: Justice for Marikana

This August marks the fifth anniversary of the Marikana mining massacre

During the month of August in 2012, 37 miners were killed — 34 were shot down by the South African police on a single day. The miners were demanding that British mining company Lonmin pay them a living wage.

That day — August 16 2012 — shook South Africa’s fragile, new democracy to the core. In as much as the massacre was traumatic for the country and the community of Marikana, what followed was shocking. Despite police investigations and a public commission of inquiry conducted by the state, no-one has been held accountable for the killings.

No one has been brought to justice.

As a result, no reparations have been paid to the families of the dead miners. No public apology has been issued. No trauma counselling has been offered to the community of Marikana

Sikhala Sonke

Sikhala Sonke which means “we cry together,” was formed by the women of Marikana. Some members are the widows of the miners. Others that joined are angry that nothing has changed in Marikana over the last five years. Sikhala Sonke continued the struggle for a living wage for the miners after the massacre. It has also repeatedly made demands on Lonmin and the South Africa government to address the Marikana Massacre.

 

Their demands are:

1. Lonmin and government must make a public apology for the Massacre.

2. Lonmin and government must pay reparations to the affected parties, including all dependents of the deceased mineworkers and the injured and arrested workers who survived the Massacre.

3. The police officers, particularly those in command positions, should be prosecuted for their role in the events of August 2012.

4. There must be immediate justice (prosecution and reparations) for the death of Paulina Masuhlo, and the other women injured by police on 15 September 2012.

5. 16 August must be declared a National holiday.

6. There must be full and proper consultation by Lonmin with all affected parties regarding the proposed commemorative monument.

7. Lonmin must fully comply with its current obligations under its SLP, including the development of 2638 (rental and ownership) accommodation units and 4000 apartments and ensure that these are affordable for mineworkers and the community, within the stipulate timeframes.

8. Government must take steps against Lonmin for non-compliance with its previous and current SLP, including the revocation of its mining right if necessary.

9. The Compliance Advisor Ombudsman is to complete its compliance appraisal by the end of August 2017 and must directly address the failures by the IFC in oversight of its investment in Lonmin.

 

Lonmin's Social and Labour Plan 

In order to get the rights to mine for platinum in Marikana, Lonmin was required by law (The Mining and Petroleum Resources Development Act) to submit a Social Labour Plan which outlines its plan to develop the community of Marikana.

In the plan, Lonmin promises to build 5,500 houses for the miners and their families and transform the hostels into family units.

However, in the last 11 years that Lonmin has been operating the mine, only three houses have been built and only 50 per cent of the hostels have been converted.

The people of Marikana are living in shacks with no water and electricity. Water has to be fetched from stand pipes that are far away from the homes. The burden of fetching the water falls on the women of Marikana.

The community do not have access to flush toilets and are forced to use pit latrines, with only a few available to the 33,000 people living in the area.

This situation of absolute poverty exists in parallel to a wealthy mining company that has shown increasing revenue over the years.

Lonmin’s revenue increased from £1.3 billion to £1.7bn between 2006 and 2008.

In addition, in 2007 the International Finance Corporation (IFC) invested £11.6 million in Lonmin to improve the social conditions around the mine.

 

Strike a Rock

Strike a Rock, is a documentary that was produced by independent documentary film maker, Aliki Saragas. The film traces the fight against Lonmin, the police and the government as told through the friendship between two women activists, Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana. This is a story of sisterhood - women leading the struggle, supporting each other and taking on capitalist patriarchy in South Africa. 

Watch the trailer for Strike a Rock here https://vimeo.com/150025734

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