One of the saddest days in South Africa is the 16th of August. It is because this day marks the day the Marikana massacre occurred. It is devastating to many because, on this day, 34 mineworkers at Marikana were shot dead by police as they were holding protests for better wages. Today marks the commemoration of the Marikana murders.
The day the Marikana massacre took place was on the 16th of August 2012. Most South Africans have come out today to commemorate this day and mourn the souls of the 34 mine workers who were shot dead at the Lonmin platinum mine.
On the 16th of August in 2012, mineworkers at the Lonmin platinum mine came together to demand a minimum salary of R12,500 a month. The negotiations between the employees and the management suddenly reached a standstill, prompting the workers to engage in strike action. The aftermath is what has left the country to date in one of the most devastating and sombre moods. What followed the strike of these employees has been highly compared to the 1960 Sharpeville massacre.
After the meeting went haywire, a group of South African police popped at the mines. They opened fire to the large crowd of men that had walked out on strike from the platinum mine at Marikana, in search of better wages. This was about 80 miles north of Johannesburg. The policemen opened fire to 112 of the striking men, killing 34.
Any country that had this happen would also create nationwide traumatic moment. For South Africa, this was also the case. However, it is more than a nightmare because the state has revived the Marikana massacre pictures in the old apartheid era. However, there is one twist. It is the fact that this time, the shooting is being conducted by predominantly black policemen, with black senior officers who are working for black politicians.
The reaction of President Jacob Zuma on the Marikana shooting
Following the Marikana strike that led to the deaths of 34 mine workers, the President of South Africa, Honorable Jacob Zuma appointed a commission of inquiry. It was chaired by a retired judge known as Ian Farlam. One of the Marikana massacre facts that you ought to know is the fact that the appointed retired judge, sat in public for roughly 293 days with the miners, their bosses and the law enforcers trying to collect evidence.
Mr Ian Farlam listened to the audio evidence, watched the Marikana massacre video, went through the paper records of the shooting, and even investigated the proceedings just seven days before the Marikana mine strike. The Farlam Commission of Inquiry delegated to examine the Marikana massacre, has highlighted SAPS poor leadership as the primary factor that led to the police shooting the protesting miners on the 16th of August 2012.
In March of 2019, the commission delivered the Marikana strike summary report to the president, who is yet to publish the conclusions of the forwarded report. However, there is a belief that the alleged guilty list includes names of senior individuals from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the British company that owns the mine, and also Lonmin.
The response of chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on the Marikana massacre
Seven years after the killings, chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng came out to acknowledge that it should never have happened in the first place. He went further to state that this saddening event should act as an example to South Africans on their poor leadership. Mogoeng stated that the Marikana murders showed how the country handled its problems. According to the chief justice, South Africa tends to leave many tragic situations unattended, despite them having a dire effect on the lives of people.
The take of the National Mineworkers Union on the Marikana massacre
According to the National Mineworkers Union and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the situation that happened on the 16th of August, 2012, should prompt the government to make this day a public holiday in honour of the 34 mine workers. Although the international workers day is on the 1st of May, the union still think that this day should be preserved as a holiday to honour the mineworkers who died that day.
On the 16th of August, 2012, mineworkers assembled at the platinum mine at Marikana to demand better wages. The meeting with their employers took a different turn, and the workers began to protest. Soon after, police arrived at the scene and opened fire to the protesting crowd, leading to the deaths of 34 people. This sad event is known as the Marikana massacre, and the National Mineworkers Union is pushing forward a proposal to make the 16th of August a holiday to honour the deceased mineworkers.