7:13 PM (1 hour ago)
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WOMEN MARCH FOR JUSTICE FOR MARIKANA
Issued by: Women’s Forum of Nkaneng in Wonderkop, Marikana
21 September 2012
Women of Marikana will march from Nkaneng, an informal settlement in Marikana, to the Marikana Police Station on Saturday, 22nd September, to submit a memorandum of their demands to the police. They will be joined by women supporters from Gauteng, Limpopo, and other parts of North West Province. Marikana, a mining town in North West Province that is home to Longman Plc, the third largest platinum mining corporation in the world, has been the epicentre of recent calls for a living wage by mine workers. A six-week strike that ended on Tuesday, 18 September, left at least 45 dead, including 34 miners who were gunned down by the police on 16 August.
The women’s march calls for an end to police brutality in Marikana and the withdrawal of the additional police and the army, which have been deployed in the area, as well as for a full investigation into police violence and other unlawful activities by the police and armed forces in the past month. Since the beginning of the strike and the police crackdown, women and children in Marikana have been subjected to daily harassment and intimidation, late-night police raids in which doors have been beaten down, and men beaten and arrested, and denied freedom of movement and association.
“It wasn’t enough that they killed our sons, our husbands, our brothers, who were only asking for a living wage. Now they beat our doors down. The police drag us out of our shacks. What have we done? We want these police out. Our children are traumatised. When they see police they run….” said Primrose Sonti at a women’s meeting in Nkaneng, Marikana, September 15th.
On Friday, 14th September, as negotiations continued between the strikers and the mining corporation, the South African president announced a toughening stance on the protracted dispute and scores of Nyalas, backed up by the army, entered Marikana to ”restore peace.” At 5 a.m. on 15 September, the police raided Nkaneng with no provocation and, a few hours later, they shot rubber bullets into four women outside a local shop.
“We were just standing by the shop on our way to the community office. We saw the Nyala [armoured patrol vehicle] coming and we thought they will not shoot women. But one policeman opened the door and started shooting. We were not armed. We were not even singing. We were just standing in the street. People scattered. There were children around. They started shooting randomly at people and their shacks. Next thing I saw there was blood flowing down my leg,” said Paulina Masutlho, who was shot in the leg and abdomen, on Saturday, 15 September, from the Job Shimankana Tabane provincial Hospital in Rustenburg, where she was in good spirits and looking forward to being discharged.
Paulina died on 19 September, following surgery; she was supposed to have been released on that day. Her family and other activists have called for an autopsy to determine the cause of her death. The women of Marikana are further galvanised by their outrage and anger at the death of their sister and comrade, a death which they directly attribute to the police shooting.
“We want Zuma to know that we are angry. Instead of sending us help, he sends us police and soldiers to kill us. We are angry and we will never forget this. If he did not send these police, Paulina would still be alive. We will never forget,” said Melita Ramusedi, a woman injured with Paulina on September 15th.
In addition to the violence and violations they have faced in recent weeks at the hands of the police, the women of Marikana also want to draw attention to longstanding and on-going violations of their fundamental rights, in particular, to the lack of decent housing, adequate water and electricity, schools, medical facilities, sanitation, roads and other basic infrastructure in their communities.
The March will start at the Wonderkop ext. 2 offices at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 22 September and end at the Marikana Police Station. Delegations from community groups and movements from Soweto, Alexander, Katlehong, Vaal, Orange Farm, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Rustenburg will join the women, as will representatives from the Marikana Support Campaign in the Western Cape, and mining affected communities such as Mokopane from Limpopo Province. Women will wear black to show unity, sorrow, outrage, and mourning that democracy is dying.
Police and army out of Marikana now!
Women demand Justice for Marikana!
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
In Marikana: Nomzekelo Sonti 083 968 8316
Thumeka Magwangqana 084 710 8111
In Johannesburg: Sipho Mthathi 071 635 8668/ Samantha Hargreaves 083 384 0088
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