Interesting to recall original police reaction, so full of Dennis Adriao's untruths... the man will be remembered in history for a line issued a few hours earlier on behalf the SA Police Service in turn working for Lonmin's interests: "Today, unfortunately, is D-Day":
Police viciously attacked at Lonmin mine - SAPS
Captain Dennis Adriao
17 August 2012
Officers forced to engage with force to protect their own lives, acted in self defence
Unrest at Lonmin Mine
Following extensive and unsuccessful negotiations by SAPS members to disarm and disperse a heavily armed group of illegal gatherers at a hilltop close to LonminMine, near Rustenburg in the North West Province, the South African Police Service was viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms. The Police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defence, were forced to engage the group with force.
This resulted in several individuals being fatally wounded, and others injured. The crime scene, which covers a vast area, is currently being managed by senior officials from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and supported by an expert team of detectives and forensic experts.
The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Riah Phiyega, and members of her top management are currently at the scene, appraisingthemselves of the situation, which is still unfolding.
Accordingly, in order to allow the investigators to manage the crime scene, and to stabilise the situation, the National Commissioner will be holding a media briefing at 11:30am tomorrow morning (Friday 17 August 2012) at Lonmin Training Centre (on the R27 just off the Mooinooi / Marikana off-ramp on the N4).
Statement issued by Captain Dennis Adriao, SAPS National Spokesperson, August 17 2012
From Ficksburg to Marikana: South Africa's post-apartheid democracy on trial!
The spirit of the workers who died at Marikana will not be defeated by attempts to turn the massacre into an instance of 'black on black violence'. The apartheid state tried this and failed. It will not be defeated by turning it into 'union faction fights'. The apartheid state tried this and failed. With Marikana its not enough to condemn the state, the bosses and all those who support and defend capitalism. The spirit of the Marikana workers can only be honoured by an intensification of the struggle to build and strengthen a new, organised and militant anti-capitalist working class movement.
Arm yourself with Knowledge! Organising and Fight!
Khanya Journal Editorial Collective
18 August 2012
18 August 2012
The Marikana Mine Worker's Massacre – a Massive Escalation in the War on the Poor
It’s now two days after the brutal, heartless and merciless cold blood bath of 45 Marikana mine workers by the South African Police Services. This was a massacre!
South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. The amount of poverty is excessive. In every township there are shacks with no sanitation and electricity. Unemployment is hovering around 40%. Economic inequality is matched with political inequality. Everywhere activists are facing serious repression from the police and from local party structures.
Mining has been central to the history of repression in South Africa. Mining made Sandton to be Sandton and the Bantustans of the Eastern Cape to be the desolate places that they still are. Mining in South Africa also made the elites in England rich by exploiting workers in South Africa. You cannot understand why the rural Eastern Cape is poor without understanding why Sandton and the City of London are rich.
Mining has been in the news in South Africa recently. Malema, a corrupt and authoritarian demagogue who represents a faction of the BEE elite, has been demanding nationalisation. Progressive forces inside and outside of the alliance oppose Malema because he represents the most predatory faction of the elite and is looking for a massive bail out for his friends who own unprofitable mines. What we stand for is the socialisation, under workers' control, of the mines. We also stand for reparations for the hundred years of exploitation.
Things are starting to change but not for the better. Khulubuse Zuma, the president’s nephew and Zondwa Mandela, the former president’s grandchild, and many others with close family ties to politicians have become mining tycoons overnight. China has joined the bandwagon as well, plundering our resources.
Frans Baleni, the General of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earns R105 000 a month. NUM has become a route into high office in government and even to places on the boards of the mining companies. The union is rapidly losing all credibility on the mines. It is clear that it is now co-opted into the system and is part of the structures of control. It is the police that take NUM to address the workers. Baleni's betrayal of the workers has made him a very rich man – a rich man who condemns and tries to suppress the struggles of the poor. It is no surprise that workers are rejecting NUM, trying to build an alternative union or acting on their own without any union representing them. The workers are right to chase the NUM leaders away from their strikes.
The Marikana Mine is the richest platinum mine in the world and yet its workers live in shacks. Most of the slain workers are rock drillers, the most difficult and dangerous work in the mine. They do the most dangerous work in the mine and yet they earn only R4 000 a month. Through the blood and sweat in the mines they do not only produce wealth that is alienated from them, they also produce the fat cats, which wine and dine on naked bodies and call that sushi.
The workers who occupied the hill came from many places including Swaziland and Mozambique. But most of them came from the rural Eastern Cape, from the former Bantustans where people live their lives as a living death under the chiefs, without work, without land and without hope. Every Rand that they win back from the capitalists is another rand coming to the poorest part of the country. The part of the country that has been most devastated by the mines over the last century. We celebrate every Rand that the workers have taken back from the capitalists and fully support their demand of a salary of R12 500 a month. Will Baleni or Nzimande or Zuma accept R4 000 a month? If not why should anyone else?
The strikers see the NUM leaders as traitors. They delinked from the NUM because they saw that they needed to delink from the alliance of capitalists and tendepreners that run the ANC. The decision to delink was very courageous! We will have to delink in every sector if we are going to build a real movement for change.
Workers under the tripartite alliance are being sundered from socialism; they are only being encouraged to vote for the ruling party. Nothing is being done to fuse social consciousness in their struggle. They are encouraged to participate in sensational politics, the politics of who should lead and who should be removed. They are encouraged to see communities and workers that organise independently as their enemies.
It is easy to decide not to decide. It is much harder to make a decision pregnant with risk and promise. For miners to delink from the likes of Baleni and tripartite alliance was a courageous decision. They understand that courage is an important element of all struggles. They understand that there is no quick fix in the struggle for a just society, a society that will respect and uphold the rights of workers and nature, a society that will be ruled on the principle of each according to his needs. This society is based on each according to his political connections with the elite that has captured the ANC and its alliance partners.
If the strikers were protesting under the banner of the tripartite alliance they wouldn’t have been slaughtered. COSATU strikes have often been violent but their members are not shot like animals. In fact the campaigns to support Zuma in his rape and corruption trials were full of threats of violence and yet Zuma supporters were not gunned down.
Before the miners occupied the hill they made a vow that no bullet will deter them. They were willing to fight and die to get a far share of the wealth of this mine for themselves and their families. What this demonstrates is that these were people who were aware of the risks that their decisions entailed, who thought about such risks carefully, guided by their conscience and concluded that they were willing to face the consequences that could arise.
Hellen Keller's words ring true “There is no such thing as a complete security, and if there was what fun would life be. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success". She adds “To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate and adversity is strength undefeatable.”
The immense courage of the miners that gathered on Nkaneng hill was tremendous. They were prepared to take a real stand. They were prepared to face real risks. We do not see this courage amongst the left. In fact most of the left has abandoned real struggle in real communities for meetings and conferences and emails. The left has become something that NGOs run. It is about bussing poor black people into meetings that they have no control over and that are very very removed from the realities of our real struggles. It is about educating the poor and not about fighting with the poor. When real struggles happen in places like the shack settlements of Zakheleni, eTwatwa or Kennedy Road most of the left is not there. But when there is a big conference they are all there.
The ANC government has killed workers for demanding a salary increment from a notoriously exploitative and very, very rich company. The workers earn only R4000, per month, doing the most dangerous work. The ANC president and cabinet ministers earns not less that R2 million per year. And on top of that there is corruption everywhere. Our politicians are part of the global elite. The lowest ANC deployee earns not less than R20 000 excluding benefits.
The Marikana mine workers lived in shacks with their families. The president of the ANC has recently built a mansion in his homestead, a mansion that cost tax payers not less than R200 million.
It is the ANC government that shoot sand kill protesters when they are fighting for the assertion of their humanity. They recently killed Andries Tatane. They have killed at least 25 others on protests since 2000. If you are poor and black your lives counts for nothing to the ANC.
What lesson can be learnt from the Marikana mine workers 'massacre? The ruthlessness of this government does not diminish but on contrary increases with the number of workers and unemployed who starve. They are criminalising our struggles and militarising their police. It is clear that anyone who organises outside of the ANC, in communities or in the workplace, will face serious and violent repression from the party and the police.
The NUM and the SACP have made it very clear which side that they are on. By supporting the massacre and calling for further repression against the workers they have made it quite clear that they are on the side of the ruthless alliance between capital and the politicians. They have declared, very clearly, that they support the war on the poor. Their reactions to the massacre are a total disgrace. No credible left formation in South Africa or anywhere in the world can work with the NUM or SACP again. The decision of the miners at Marikana to delink from the corrupt and ruthless politics of the alliance has been vindicated.
Things will not get better but will get worse. When the elite’s power is threatened they will respond with more and more violence. War has been declared on the poor and on anyone organising outside of the control of the ANC. We are our own liberators. We must organise and continue to build outside the ANC. We must face the realities of the situation that we confront clearly and courageously. Many more of us will be jailed and killed in the years to come.
What they have done can never be forgotten nor forgiven.
078 825 6462
Gordimer distressed at Lonmin mine 'massacre'
Sapa-AFP | 18 August, 2012 13:41
Nadine Gordimer. File photo.
Nobel literature prize winner Nadine Gordimer, a powerful critic of apartheid, told AFP she never imagined the police violence that killed 34 miners could ever happen in the new South Africa.
In scenes that drew comparisons to the infamous 1960 Sharpeville massacre, when apartheid police fired into a crowd of blacks, police on Thursday opened fire into group of striking miners demanding a tripling of their salaries.
"I am absolutely devastated. I can't believe this terrible massacre between our own people, our own black people," she said in an interview. "Ghastly, completely unacceptable."
"If you ask me when we celebrated our victory in the struggle, when Umkonto weSizwe (the ANC armed wing) won against the South African army, and especially those of us around, as I was in the ANC, we could never have believed this would ever happen," she said.
Police said they acted in self defence against the armed protestors.
Gordimer said South African police lacked crowd control skills, despite the recurring protests against poor living conditions across the country.
"I don't understand why, since we have had so many protests over the living conditions of people living in shacks, why the police do not have sophisticated, more competent methods of dealing with people who become violent in a crowd.
"Why would you simply pick up your gun and shoot back?"
Gordimer, who had several works banned by the apartheid regime, said in the dawn of democracy euphoria, a host of inequalities were overlooked and no plans were put in place to deal with them.
"There were many factors we didn't take into account. All we were absolutely interested about was getting rid of apartheid. We didn't realise that the financial inequality along with all the other inequalities, were sure going to be with us."
"And unfortunately we seem to have quite wrongly not talked about this before, and how we were going to deal with this situation."
The 88-year-old writer and political activist said as a young white girl she was made to believe that black miners were dangerous.
But as she grew up and became politically aware, she got to understand the deplorable living conditions of black mine workers, who were kept far away in so-called compounds.
As co-author of the book On The Mines, she went in to understand first-hand the mine workers' living conditions, which she believes have not improved much.
"The compounds, the sleeping quarters, were concrete bunks, one above the other, concrete. And I don't know what the conditions are like now (but) I am sure they are not particularly comfortable.
She said the "incredible" compound system continued "until I am sure, very recently."
"These people are really the most important working factor in bringing out the wealth that we have, our wealth, our platinum, our gold and uranium underground. They have always been underpaid and under-cared for."
Many of them have suffered from mining-related illnesses such as tuberculosis, she said.
She was also annoyed that President Jacob Zuma did not return home immediately in the thick of the violence.
"President Zuma was on some mission in Mozambique. Why didn't he get on one of his private jets and come back immediately to deal with the trouble?"
She does not spare mine owners from blame.
"I want to see them brought into the public domain to (explain) what they intend to do to change the conditions of these workers."
Justice organisation blames Zuma for Marikana shooting
Sapa | 18 August, 2012 15:07
A New Zealand-based organisation has blamed President Jacob Zuma and the ANC-led government for a shootout at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, in the North West, that left 34 workers dead.
Spokesman for the Global Peace and Justice Auckland (GPJA) John Minto wrote in an open letter to Zuma that the government had "blood on their hands".
"Just as we held the apartheid regime responsible for the massacres in the 70's and 80's, we now hold the ANC government responsible for the massacre of striking mineworkers."
Minto said members of the organisation had watched with growing alarm at the direction the ANC leadership had taken South Africa since the first democratic election in 1994.
"Under the ANC we have seen South Africa change seemlessly from race-based apartheid to economic apartheid".
He said the strike came as a result of the ANC's choice to follow free-market economic policies.
"Such policies had always transferred wealth from the poor to the rich and stripped hope from the majority" he said.
He said the struggle for liberation was not aimed at placing a few black faces at the top table in South Africa.
New Zealand-based media outlet 3 News reported on Saturday that GPJA protesters attacked the South African consulate building in Auckland in response to the shooting.
They used red paint bombs to splatter the walls and windows and stuck the open letter on the door.
Massacre of Striking Mineworkers in Marikana, South Africa
On August 16th, heavily armed police in Marikana, South Africa opened fire on striking mineworkers, reportedly killing over 34 workers in an action reminiscent of the worst days of the apartheid regime. The platinum miners were demanding increases in pay and improved living and working conditions in a nation where poverty, unemployment and inequality persist 18 years after the end of the apartheid system of white rule. The governing African National Congress (ANC), which once represented the hope of equality for all South Africans, obliquely condemned the violence but refrained from criticizing the police.
With Patrick Bond, political economist and senior professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies in Durban, South Africa. Radio interview by Amy Grunder, first aired live on Sounds of Dissent on WZBC 90.3 FM Boston on 2012-08-18. --- Sounds of Dissent has aired since 1998 on WZBC 90.3 FM in Greater Boston. Catch us every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Live streams & archive links at wzbc.org.
This audio is part of the collection: Community Audio
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Artist/Composer: Sounds of Dissent
Keywords: South Africa; Marikana; ANC; African National Congress; Lonmin; mine workers; apartheid; National Union of Mineworkers; NUM; Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union; AMCU
Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0