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Thread: Marikana Platinum mine shooting

  1. #1

    Default Marikana Platinum mine shooting

    Few links (warning: graphic):
    South African police open fire on striking miners - World - CBC News
    South Africa police defend shooting that killed 34 miners - World - CBC News
    South Africa shocked by police shootings at mine -

    A South African mine in the city of Marikana has become the centre of one of the biggest news story of the year so far due to a huge labour dispute between two miners' unions and the mine's British parent company, Lonmin.

    Across the country miners are decrying that they are being paid a penitence for the work they do. At the Marikana mine the unions where demanding a pay raise to 1500$ per month, up from the current 300-500$ per month. Violence clashes had already started since the beginning of the strike. Since last week two security guards, two would-be picket breakers and two policemen have been killed by strikers.

    The details are still a bit sketchy, but from what we know for sure yesterday the police tried to break the picket using water canons and stun grenades. The strikers, armed with various white arms, retaliated by charging the police line. The police retreated and shot at the picketers using automatic weapons to cover their retreat. The end result is that 34 miners are dead and a further 78 are injured.

    This incident seems to have shocked South Africa at it's core and appears to be a symptom of very deep discontent among poor black South Africans that haven't seen the improvements in their daily life they had hopped for after the end of apartheid, which has lead a rapid loss of goodwill towards Nelson Mandela's old party, the ANC. It's worth noting that while South Africa has an unemployment rate of 23% only 6% of whites are unemployed compared to 21% of mixed raced and 28% of blacks. It's also worth noting that of all countries ranked by the World Bank South Africa has the second highest Gini coefficient (income inequality), behind only Namibia which was part of South Africa until 1990.

    Anyway, what do you guys think about this situation? And what impact do you think this will have on South African society?

    Looking at this from the outside, it looks to me that this will re-open a lot of wounds from the apartheid era. Hopefully this event will eventually bring about positive social changes without further bloodshed. The gap between haves and haves not in South Africa is absolutely immense currently, and I think that what happened yesterday is quite clearly systematic of that.

    It's really shocking to see such violence from the strikers (six murders leading up to the police intervention) and the bloodshed it all lead to. This whole story is just profoundly sad on many levels.

  2. #2


    It's absolutely shocking, and I'm surprised that I'm only hearing about this today! This is a a martyr-type situation, causing old wounds not only to reopen but to fester. It takes time for things such as equality to truly take root in a society. Hundreds of legislative bills can be passed, but culture evolves at a much slower pace. I hope this will help the South African people to readdress the issues of racial and economic equality once again. Sort of like a checkup. And hopefully that society can continue to progress forward.

    As for those killed and injured? Thoughts and prayers will be with them.

    I'll be keeping a close eye on the situation.

  3. #3

    Default Marikana Platinum mine shooting

    Maybe this is exactly what was needed for people to really begin to be pro-active about racial equality. Perhaps we will see some more dramatic changes, especially if this kind of event starts to happen more. I think, perhaps some of those wounds needed re-opening in order for them to be healed properly.

  4. #4


    I was shocked when I watched it on the news one evening. The mine shootings in Marikana raises the specter of apartheid, though I don't believe that the excessive force used by the police was justified. I've never particularly liked Jacob Zuma, and I like him even less at this point.
    It's difficult to say what impact the shootings will have on South African Society.

  5. #5


    Yes it is indeed a shocking thing to have happened however I feel I need to elaborate a little bit.
    It is written in our constitution that we have a right to protest.
    However in this case and a few others protests, that have become more and more violent.
    Before the march, workers approached a Sangoma(traditional healer), for a bravery muti(potion).
    Many were armed with weapons, and damaged property.
    Why carry weapons to a protest?

    There demands were roughly, a more then double pay hike and things were getting out of hand.
    The police were heavily outnumbered with the first line of defence, being tear gas and rubber bullets.
    The protesters never backed down and got increasing more unruly and violent, and in extreme fear the police started firing on the crowd.
    It may sound like I'm defending the police, but I'm merely explaining then other side of the story.
    Jobs are real scarce in out country and the workers unions are running the show with regards to mass protests.
    Its believed that the workers shifted to another union, and with the dwindling numbers the competing union, tried its bests to make it presence known and is alleged to have played a major role in what happened.
    Ultimately people lost their lives over this, and its a real sad state of affairs.
    As a citizen of SA, I personally feel the unions were being unreasonable with its wage demands and the workers being mostly illiterate and unable to communicate their problems like civilized human beings,can only vent their anger by resorting to violence.
    They have no right to to behave like barbarians, and endanger everybody else's lives and destroy property like they they do almost every year we have a protest, which is always related to higher wage damands.
    The solution to this is education, and proper skills training, which we sorely lack at the moment.
    Having seen our protests year after year, I feel for the poor, but I defend our police because they too have families and their lives were in grave danger that fateful day.
    In no way can this be compared to the Sharpville massacre, because this protest, was a far less noble and admirable cause.
    This was chaos and a case of protest getting out of hand and the police needing to defend themselves.
    Our previous Minister of police have told the police, that if their lives were ever in danger, they need to shoot to kill.
    If I had thousands of angry violent protestors running toward me, and I was scared for my own life, I would have done the same thing, wouldn't you?
    Jacob Zuma is our president and he is aware of how this makes us look, and he also knows most of these workers put the ANC into power.
    The very people who were protesting about low wages, refuse to vote for our competitive party the DA because, this party is perceived as white and they fear apartheid may return.
    We are still very much a country were racism is the divide to which people vote.
    My hope is that this changes before we end up with a party that never gets voted for what it does for its people, verses who can actually run the country better.
    This is an amazing country, despite what has been said and our many corrupt politicians.
    Education and less reliance on the government for housing and grants and to empower people to become self sustainable, is the key to our success.
    Hell we were lucky to avoid a civil war back in 1994 when our dearest Madiba was released from prison.

    We have come along way and hosted a successful 2010 world cup, and I'm proud to be South African.

    That's my 2c™.

  6. #6

    Default Marikana Platinum mine shooting

    It's indeed unfair to throw the police under the bus. By all accounts they really were put in a situation where they needed to shoot to kill. I think the bigger issue is that it brings up a host of social and political issues that have to be solved to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future.

    Clearly South Africa still has a long way to go (not to say the country hasn't made huge progress since the 80s) and hopefully history will look back at this event as the start of a dialogue that had to happen.

    Ultimately, though, the huge discrepancy that exists between blacks and whites in South Africa is a fairly big indictment of the ANC, considering how long they've been in charge.

  7. #7


    i can understand all viewpoints, but i've not heard anyone, other than my like, point out,

    Quote Originally Posted by Luckyfish View Post
    Why carry weapons to a protest?
    shouldn't we also be asking that about the police?
    but, more importantly, shouldn't we be asking why the police were only pointing their weapons at the miners and not also at the mine 'owners'?
    Death in the name of profit: South Africa

    who drew first blood?

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    who drew first blood?
    A commission of inquiry is being set up,to get to the bottom of this tragedy.
    At the moment from viewing the video footage,it seems the protestors shot first.
    Its also alleged that one of the protestors fired a handgun at the police.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Luckyfish View Post
    Its also alleged that one of the protestors fired a handgun at the police.
    it was a rhetorical question; my point was that the mine 'owners' drew first blood in their willful killing of miners (willful by design and by neglect) over the years, indeed they have killed many more people than the miners did. and yet, the police only ever pointed their guns at miners.

    from my perspective, and possibly from some of the miners', the police were always going to open fire on the miners - that's what they were there for - and those inclined decided to pre-empt the inevitable in order to give it media coverage (otherwise it would have probably happened when the press weren't there).

  10. #10


    I know it was rhetorical, but i took the opportunity to update what i have been hearing on our local media.

    I understand your ultimate point, and the divide between the rich and the poor, and its dire consequences.

    Its a little known fact that the wider the gap between rich and poor the bigger the chance of civil uprising, hell this has been going on for centuries!

    Remember Marie Antoinette?

    Let them eat cake!

    This whole thing is now polluted in filthy politics, and the ex ANC youth league leader and Darwin Award winner Julius Malema is filing murder charges on behalf of the deceased miners.
    Only to gain popularity....
    Jacob Zuma is siding with the miners, and the mining companies are urging the workers to return or risk being fired.

    Meh, im so tired of this S***.

    I take your point and fully agree.

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