Thousands gather in Marikana to remember massacre victims

At least 34 miners were gunned down by police on 16 August 2012.

FILE: The Marikana community gathered to commemorate the massacre on 16 August 2019 which saw 34 miners gunned down on 16 August 2012. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of people gathered at the koppie in Marikana on Friday to remember those who were killed during a wage strike seven years ago.

The event was organised by mining union Amcu. At least 34 miners were gunned down by police on 16 August 2012.

There have been growing calls for the affected families to be compensated and for action to be taken against those responsible for the massacre.

Lonmin mineworkers in Marikana were allowed to take the day off from work to commemorate the massacre. The event was filled with activity and saw vendors selling food and clothing. Some residents braaied with family and friends.

Amcu erected a big stage and Mathunjwa was expected to address the crowd, alongside dignitaries from various political parties and other organisations. The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Solly Malatsi was in attendance.

While thousands gathered at the commemoration event, the numbers appeared to have decreased from the previous years.


Before the event started on Friday, Amcu's Mathunjwa described the mineworkers who had gathered on top of the koppie for better wages as the "architects of the struggle for economic freedom".

When police opened fire on the workers on that fateful winter afternoon, Mathunjwa went down on his knees and begged the striking workers to retreat amid increased tensions.

The massacre was the first mass shooting experienced under the democratic dispensation, drawing the government's scorn for overseeing the deaths of black people as the apartheid regime had before it.