On 16 August 2012, South African police opened fire on a large crowd of men who had walked out on strike from a platinum mine at Marikana, about 80 miles north of Johannesburg. They shot down 112 of them, killing 34 blacks. In any country, this would have been a traumatic moment. For South Africa, it was a special kind of nightmare, since it revived images of the Sharpville massacre, with one brutal difference – this time it was predominantly black policemen, with black senior officers working for black politicians, who were doing the shooting.
On the morning of Saturday 11 August, strikers at Marikana gathered in the football stadium and decided to march to the NUM office, close by Lonmin’s, to protest that union officials had been touring the shacks urging their members to go to work. Some of the strikers were carrying sticks and chanting aggressively. The Farlam inquiry later heard that an NUM official gathered 30 of his members in their office and gave them long panga blades and at least one gun. As the strikers approached, they heard gunfire and turned and scattered. NUM men pursued them. Some strikers were beaten and cut. Two fell with bullet wounds and were hospitalized. They survived, although at the time the others understood that they were dead. The strikers abandoned the football stadium as a meeting place, because it was too close to the NUM, and began to assemble instead on a “koppie” – a rocky hill, that stood on a wide plane of wasteland near one of the settlements. They collected cash and sent for a local sangoma – a traditional healer – in the hope that he could protect them from violence.
Then others joined the strike – not just the rock-drill operators who had started it, but other Lonmin workers who were furious when they heard that the NUM was colluding with the company and had shot two of their comrades. The violence escalated. The following day, Sunday 12 August, a group of about 150 strikers marched from their new base on the koppie to the Lonmin office. There were scuffles. A striker threw a rock. A security guard fired a shotgun. The strikers massed forward. Some of the workers were now carrying pangas, and they used them with deadly force, slashing one guard from armpit to hip and hacking two more to death. One of the bodies was burned beyond recognition. Over the following 24 hours, two miners were killed when they tried to go to work in the hours of darkness. For 15 minutes, there was no firing. Then two groups of officers closed in one of the two smaller koppies. Several dozen strikers were now hiding among its rocks and bushes. Police opened an explosion of intense fire – 295 bullets, many aimed from the top of the koppie down at the shapes of men huddling below. Seventeen more men died there. Police in one of the helicopters were lobbing stun grenades at fleeing miners.
Looking back at these events, the Farlam inquiry uncovered fault on all sides: the opening violence by Lonmin and the NUM; a complete absence of investigation of that violence by the South African police service (Saps); barbaric behavior by those strikers who had killed people who defied them; and an apparently callous decision by Lonmin. As counsel to the Farlam inquiry put it: “It appears that it was possible for Lonmin to close the mine in order to protect its workers but that for business reasons, it elected not to do so.” BUT in contrast with the Sharpville “massacre” where white policemen had to fight for their lives against an angry mob of over 15 000- the Marikana massacre slowly was wiped under the carpet as the stakeholders in this deadly duel were black such as Cyril Rhamaphosa– and no media outcry or special day of remembrance was called out to commemorate the dead black mine workers massacred by black policemen on orders from black politicians and black stakeholders at Marikana. No special commemoration was held or history remembered for the innocent dead victims of the Church Street bomb. No commemoration for the 4000 white farmers murdered since 1994.
It’s much more convenient to blame a white ” apartheid” than a black “democracy” if one want to retain power in South Africa. After all- the British media made sure that whites in South Africa are labelled next to Hitler as the most “atrocious” white ” supremacists” in the world- a bunch of “neo-Nazi” right-wingers that thoroughly “enjoy” killing innocent black people for the fun of it. Sharpville is still well commemorated to this day to ensure the new generation of blacks fully understand the “struggle” against the white “colonials”– where-as the Marikana massacre are quietly removed from the history books to ensure the new black generation still vote for the silent killers in control. Meanwhile the ANC communists and their devious media ghouls keep our memories alive with the Sharpville incident- for the deceptive lie to stay in power and the division between races must be maintained to follow the ” divide and conquer “ strategy. As it is with communism through-out the ages- the Sharpville tragedy and the death of many innocent people – black and white- are exploited to enhance personal hidden agendas and retain political power.