Date: 13 August 2020
To: All Media Editors, Journalists and News Outlets
RE: MACUA & WAMUA to mark Marikana Day with Pickets at Sibanye in Marikana.
Branches across South Africa will join in Solidarity with Pickets at local mining companies.
On the 16th of August 2012, in the grinding dust of Marikana, South Africa gazed into the abyss of the most unequal society in the world, and the abyss, not only gazed back, but fired an unrelenting salvo of live ammunition into the bodies of protesting mine workers.
This act of unadulterated violence against those who dare seek a more just society, was not just a “concomitant action”, this was the unmasking of a monster whose “final solution” to the deep colonial legacy of colonialism, was the massacre of mineworkers in full view of the world.
We will not forget the mortuary vehicles lined up ready to despatch its cargo of black bodies. We will not forget the Tactical Teams of heavily armed men, loaded up with live ammunition to protect the interest of connected politicians and greedy shareholders, against the “threat” of the hungry and exploited hordes of black bodies demanding a living wage.
We will not forget the widows and families who had to witness their sons, brothers, husbands and cousins being mowed down in cold blood on live television.
It was this massacre that finally galvanised mining affected communities to unite under the banner of MACUA and that made us realise that despite the paternalistic platitudes emanating from those we trusted with our governance, that ultimately, like Steve Bantu Biko warned us so many years ago, “we are on our own”.
Government was not coming to save us, so we are called to liberate ourselves from the yoke of the ongoing colonial legacy of mining in South Africa. Mining companies like Lonmin had proven that they were not interested in redressing the ills of the past. They were not interested in social cohesion and the development of the historically oppressed people who have hosted their enormously profitable mines.
Today, like in the days of colonial apartheid, mining affected communities are still living in poverty, denied access to the minerals and land that were stolen by the barrel of a gun.
Today the families of the miners who were massacred are still waiting for compensation and delivery of the promises that were made. The community still languishes in the poverty and informality so emblematic of the worst forms of inequality.
Today, not one policeman, or one politician, or one executive, has been held accountable for the massacre and Lonmin itself has been allowed to slink out of the country without having been held to account.
“Instead of Government and mining companies using the events of August 16th 2012 as a catalyst to advance transformation, justice and equality, the 7 villages that has been hosting still have no running water, electricity and Infrastructure, and this affect women disproportionately.” says Thumeka Magwangqana, the Branch Coordinator of MACUA and WAMUA in Marikana . “Lonmin left without implementing the agreement and promises”, she continues, “and Sibanye never consulted the community”. Thumeka who has been instrumental in supporting women in the area after the massacre says that “all 7 villages (who host Lonmin and Sibanya) have one clinic far away and the Police Station is far away, leaving communities vulnerable to crime and abuse. The community has requested that the mountain where workers were killed to be a national monument, but it fell to deaf ears and today unfortunately the place is used by thugs to prey on the community” she says. “We managed as MACUA to open a Branch to hold the Sibanye still water mine accountable. Sibanye still water is a disaster, but we are committed to fight for justice”, Thumeka says with a steely glint of determination.
When a mining company can exploit and extract billions of Rands in value from a country, flight it out of the country, orchestrate a massacre of its workers and fail to deliver on its social obligations without any consequences, then we need no longer look at a R700 million commission of inquiry to understand state capture.
For mining affected communities, the state is an alien entity who will kill us to protect the looting of the country’s mineral wealth. As if to emphasises this point to the marginalized communities of South Africa, Gwede Mantashe, the Minster on Minerals Resources and Energy has announced on the eve of the 8th year of commemoration of the massacre, that he has cowered and bowed to pressure of mining houses by withdrawing the appeal to the judgement that allows power and resources stay in the hands of monopoly capital
We should never allow this bloody day to pass by without remembering those who died so that a few rich and politically connected individuals could live in grotesque opulence while we live in abject poverty.
MACUA and WAMUA joins the call to make August 16 a national Public Holiday during which we remind ourselves of the dangers of a predatory state who has been captured by minority private interests , and who will use violence to keep the majority in subjugation and poverty.
MACUA and WAMUA will mobilise its branches across the country on the 16th to mark this day so that we renew our commitment to ensure that justice and equality prevails in our long-suffering country.
We mark this day to remind the state that we will not rest until justice has been done and until we are included in decisions that directly affect us. #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
For further information please contact:
Meshack Mbangula – National Coordinator of MACUA: 0749775588Marikana Day