RUSTENBURG – Calls have intensified for those who were responsible for the #MarikanaMassacre to be held accountable as South Africa commemorates 9 years since one of the darkest events in the nation’s post-Apartheid era. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also demanded President Cyril Ramaphosa be held accountable for his alleged role in the killings.
On August 10, 2012, rock drillers embarked on a wild cat strike, demanding a pay raise to R12,500 per month. The events that followed shocked the world.
In the most lethal use of force against civilians by South African security forces since 1976, Police killed 34 striking miners in the North West mining town of Marikana. 10 Police and security members were killed and 78 people were injured in the brutal use of force by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that day.
Nearly a decade later, the families of the victims are still begging for justice to be served, whilst the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) maintains that there are two “big cases under consideration which can be referred to as the main Marikana cases involving incidents of killing of mine workers by the police on August 16 2012 at two adjacent hillocks near the Nkaneng informal settlement”.
The Socioeconomic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) said thenon-delivery of justice for those who died that day adds to the trauma experienced by the families of the Marikana victims.
“Since 2012, the families and surviving mine workers have continued to bear the trauma and loss, which has been compounded by the lack of justice and accountability for the events at Marikana.
Speaking at a commemoration event, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, gave the NPA an ultimatum to prosecute President Cyril Ramaphosa for his role in the massacre within three months or his party will take the prosecuting authority to the high court.
Ramaphosa – then a non-executive director at Lonmin – is alleged to have sent Lonmin management and government officials an email on the eve of the Marikana shooting, in which he allegedly stated that events around the strike “are plainly dastardly criminal acts and must be characterised as such”. He later apologised for the comments.
Meanwhile, at least four police officers were acquitted in March on charges related to the death of mine worker Modisaotsile Segalala in police custody. Segalala had reportedly sustained at least two gunshot wounds when he was shot at the second scene of the killings.
Former North West deputy provincial police commissioner, William Mpembe, the former provincial head of detectives, Jacobus van Zyl, the provincial head of detectives, Brigadier Dingaan Madoda, and Lieutenant-Colonel Oupa Pule were acquitted on all charges.
Salaamedia’s Julie Alli spoke to Joseph Mathunjwa, who is the President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) on News & Views. Listen to the full discussion here: