COSATU statement on the 8th Anniversary of the Marikana tragedy

The Congress of South Trade Unions commemorates the 8th anniversary of the tragic events of Marikana that took place between 10 August 2012 – 20 September 2012 and led to 47 mineworkers losing their lives.

Ten workers including two police officers and security guards were killed in the violence that flared up in Marikana between the 10th of August and the 16th of August 2012, where 34 innocent miners were killed by the police. After the tragic events of the 16th of August another three people were killed. 

 Overall, around 58 people were killed in the course of the Lonmin and Impala disputes of 2012. These include 5 workers that were killed at Impala Platinum, 6 workers at Aquarius Platinum, and 47 at Lonmin Marikana.

 The Marikana tragedy stands as a shameful symbol of how government and the mining sector have failed the workers of this country.

 Sadly, the Marikana tragedy did not bring any changes for the workers in the mining sector as the Lily Mine tragedy that left three missing miners {Mrs Pretty Mabuza, Mr Solomon Nyarenda and Ms Yvonne Mnisi}, still trapped underground at Lily Vantage gold mine in Mpumalanga since the 15th of February 2016.

 The police themselves have learned nothing from that tragedy because as their behaviour during the Fees Must Fall protests and during the recent COVID-19 inspired lockdown proved, they still use unnesecary force against protestors.

Mine owners continue to pay slave wages to the thousands of workers, who have carried this sector and the economy for over a century. Mechanisation has exacerbated these problems and there are still inadequate training and limited opportunities for promotion, especially for black mineworkers.

The surrounding communities that host mine operations are still not benefitting but are only dealing with the environmental damage that this sector has inflicted on this country. There is no improvement in how mine closures are managed. We still see many mines being abandoned, with mine shafts left open, resulting in the build-up of contaminated mine water.

Government has continued to reject the proposal to put strategic mining commodities under government control.

The mining sectors rejection of the revised Mining Charter points to the fact that our government still lacks the necessary backbone to hold the mine bosses accountable and demand more on behalf of the workers and poor communities. 

The legacy of the Marikana killings should be about changing the conditions of the mineworkers and holding the mining companies accountable for the damage that they have inflicted on the workers and communities.

We reiterate our call for the prosecution of the agitators and the architects of the violence in the mining sector that still simmers across the country to this day The Farlam Commission like many commissions before it was a whitewash and a waste of money that failed to dig deeper and unearth the source of the tragedy and hold the plotters and wrongdoers accountable. We need law enforcement agencies and other relevant institutions to fix the mess created by the commission.The families of the massacred workers and their loved ones deserve justice.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla 

National Spokesperson

Cosatu House

110 Jorissen street, Braamfontein

Johannesburg, 2017

Tel: 011 339 4911 | Cell: 060 975 6794