Exactly six years ago, on this day, Thursday, August 16, 2012, 34 mineworkers in Marikana, South Africa were brutally shot dead by police officers. The killings also saw the death of two police officers and four security guards. The deadly massacre has since gone down in history as the most destructive utilisation of the South African Police Force against civilian workers since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre.
According to IOL news, as many as 78 others were wounded on that fateful day and in the aftermath, some 275 locals were arrested and brought before the courts.
Coincidentally, the massacre occurred on the 25th anniversary of a Nation-wide South African miners strike.
The Marikana Massacre resulted out of a week-long strike by mineworkers who were demanding a raise on their minimum monthly salary. Feeling cheated by their employers, the mineworkers went on strike demanding R12,500 ($860) as a monthly salary instead of the R4,000 ($275) that they had been receiving. The massacre was the climax of similar deaths that had been recorded earlier that week due to the strike by the mineworkers who worked for the mine owned by Lonmin in Marikana.
It is interesting to note that the case of the massacre has since 2012 been neglected and not resolved by the court or the government. Families of the deceased have since not been given any answers as to why the male workers were shot dead that day and neither have they been compensated. Despite annual markings of the sad event, no official visit by any person of higher position has been made to Marikana to speak with the people of the town or the families of the deceased.
Lack of proper investigation has left the causes of the massacre a speculative story as one party argues that the workers attacked the police who were left with no choice but to shoot. Another party argues that the Police Officers overused their power as the workers were against their employer and not them.
According to SowetanLive, Thami Nkosi‚ Right 2 Know’s campaign organiser for Gauteng said that it was disheartening that‚ six years later‚ politicians had still not taken accountability for the massacre. Nkosi went on to say that “Over the years politicians have done their best to dodge responsibility and have instead frustrated the process. There has been a deliberate attempt by political heads to derail justice. The longer this drags, the better for them.”
Despite neglect of the case, new reports have been brought with the hopes of getting closer to the root of the massacre. According to SowetanLive, a new report indicates that, contrary to popular belief, no evidence points to the claim that the miners were attacking the police which led to a shooting. This goes against previous findings that indicated that the miners, in an attempt to prove a point aimed at attacking the police who were left with no option but to shoot.
The Marikana massacre gained the attention of the world and till this day is discussed and marked annually. Such a dark day in history should definitely not go unresolved out of respect for the families and for the sake of enhancing proper force training in South Africa and other African countries.
Since its happening, the Marikana Massacre has left South Africa in a dilemma on how to mourn and mark this day.
Remember the butchering of defenceless workers by the @MYANC government at Marikana on this day. Let’s call it by a rightful name #MarikanaMassacre, proudly brought to you by @CyrilRamaphosa. pic.twitter.com/f0AujbLmZc
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) August 16, 2018
Today let us stop & remember the brutal killing of those who lost their lives in #Marikana ▪6yrs later & there has still been no justice, no accountability. We must NEVER forget what happened. The #MarikanaMassacre is a scar on our conscious. What freedom, when this happened? pic.twitter.com/D8GHTPgUUA
— CATHERINE Constantinides (@ChangeAgentSA) August 16, 2018
All the politicians involved in the #MarikanaMassacre have been promoted. The victims still haven’t been compensated. Six years on, no one has been held accountable, nor has there been an official apology. We can’t rest until there’s justice for #Marikana.
— Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh ? (@SizweMpofuWalsh) August 16, 2018
— Azania Afrika (@SAYoungLion) August 16, 2018
[MARIKANA] We remember Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki (32) who was shot 14 times & killed by the police on this day, 6 years ago. Mr Noki was from Twalikhulu, Eastern Cape. He began working for Lonmin in 2009 & was a leader of the strike |#NeverAgain | #RememberMarikana | #Marikana pic.twitter.com/ZSabbDOdfU
— SERI (@SERI_RightsSA) August 16, 2018
This is Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki. He was killed at #Marikana after being shot 14 times by the police.
As we remember him & 33 other souls massacred that day, let’s recommit ourselves to the struggle for equality & for justice for the victims of state violence.#RememberMarikana pic.twitter.com/mXuszVSHO6
— Doug Coltart ✊??? (@DougColtart) August 16, 2018