Monday, 20 August 2012
The Thursday 16 August 2012 South African police massacre of 34 striking miners at the Lonmin-owned platinum mines at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg, is outrageous, beastly and tragically ironic. An observer would be forgiven if they thought that the gruesome footage emanating from the scenes of this slaughter was ripped off from the catalogue of the incessant and long-stretched police/military-organised murdering of Africans during the epoch of the European-minority occupation of South Africa: Weenen, Rand, Sharpeville, Boipatong, Lellefontein, Bisho, Shell House, Sizzlers, Soweto…
No state has the right to turn its guns on people – its own or indeed others whatever the circumstances. Not least the state in Africa given its atrocious legacy since the Igbo genocide, 1966-1970, when it has murdered 15 million Africans in all genocides and other wars across the continent.
Notably, President Zuma reflects on the “sanctity of human life and the right to life” in his official statement on the Marikana murders, a conviction his police officers responsible for the outrage don’t appear to share. Africans and the rest of the world expect the Zuma administration to respond urgently to the multifold ramifications of this carnage which include the following:
1. All persons and institutions responsible for the murder of these miners must account for their actions and punished accordingly
2. All victims (the dead, the wounded and those variously victimised by the mine owners and others, and all their families) must have full reparations on their ordeal paid for by the state and Lonmin
3. The working conditions and pay in Lonmin’s Marikana mines must be comparable to the high standards tenable elsewhere in the world
4. Never again does the South Africa police/military shoot the people