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Marikana massacre: Still no closure for victims 8 years later

Miners at the North West platinum mine owned by Lonmin embarked on an unprotected strike over wages on 10 August 2012 which turned violent.

FILE: Miners gather during commemorations to mark the fourth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre in Rustenburg on August 16, 2016. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks exactly eight years since the mass shooting in Marikana by police, which left 34 mine workers dead and many have decried the lack of justice since then.

Miners at the North West platinum mine owned by Lonmin embarked on an unprotected strike over wages on 10 August 2012 which turned violent. Ten people were killed including miners, police officers and security guards.

On 16 August following a standoff with police, 34 miners were shot and killed.

Eight years ago, Lonmin mine workers started protesting over wages.

In the days leading up to the mass shooting on 16 August, 10 people were killed and the then North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo called for the violence to end.

Cyril Ramaphosa, who was at the time a non-executive board member at Lonmin, called for concomitant action.
After days of staging a protest at the now infamous Koppie, police attempted to disperse the crowd.

But 34 miners were shot and killed on that day and the news made international headlines, mainly due to the police’s handling of the situation.

To this day, the families of the victims are still waiting for justice to be served.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) said the persistent failure to prosecute those responsible in the Marikana massacre has further fuelled police brutality in the country.

Seri’s Nomzamo Zondo said government’s failure to deliver any form of justice to the families has contributed to the country’s amnesia around the massacre.

“It is a moment of betrayal for them [miners] by the government. That moment has carried on in the past eight years as they’ve had to struggle to seek justice and the prosecution of those responsible.”

Zondo said while the families of the mineworkers continue to wait for justice, excessive use of force and brutality by the police persists.

“The lockdown showed us that the police are unaccountable as they were with the Marikana massacre.”

Several recommendations made by the Farlam Commission in 2018 into the killings are yet to be implemented.

Additional reporting by Veronica Mokhoali.

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