Marikana: Remembering the fallen

Victims of the 2012 shooting will be remembered at a commemoration rally this weekend.

Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West on 16 August, 2012. Picture: EWN.

MARIKANA - Victims of the Marikana shooting will be remembered this weekend by the nation and the world at a two year commemoration rally in the North West.

Thirty-four striking miners were gunned down by police on 16 August 2012, during a violent wage-related protest that made international headlines.

It has been compared to the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre and described as one of the most violent police operations in post-apartheid South Africa.

In the days leading up to the shooting, 10 people were murdered in the area, including two security guards and two police officers.

Security guards were mutilated and burnt, police officers hacked to death and several miners killed for not wanting to participate in a strike by Marikana miners.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed to the North West platinum mine to stabilise the situation but miners refused to hand over their weapons, saying they had declared war on the police.

Back then North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo decided to take control of the situation.

"Today we earned this violence."

Thirty-four people lay dead near the infamous koppie, where they'd been gathering for days, demanding an entry level salary of R12,500.

Today, the wives and sisters of the deceased are still waiting for answers.

"Who is going to take responsibility? Lonmin should have spoken to the workers, it was not supposed to send the police to shoot them."

Miners, their families and the community will gather in Marikana on Saturday at the koppie, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for a decent wage.

Meanwhile, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which was appointed to investigate the events leading up to the Marikana shooting, is still sitting, with proceedings only expected to wrap up at the end of September.