5th Marikana Massacre Commemoration

The dictionary defines a massacre as an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of many people. What happened on 16 August 2012 at Marikana can therefore be seen as a massacre. It carries the same historical value as similar incidents at Sharpeville and Ilanga at the hands of the apartheid regime.

However, the Marikana Massacre is different because it happened under our constitutional democracy. It is shameful that the same people who claim to have liberated us and who condemn police violence against protestors, were the same people who let police kill striking mineworkers.

In a profit-led economic model, this wage system is the anchor for monopoly capital and the root of the exploitation of workers. Marx calls on all of us as workers to develop class consciousness in order to challenge and defeat this capitalist system. Consciousness is a state of being aware and alive to one’s environment and surroundings.

These workers fought for radical economic emancipation which is now the rallying point for the incumbent Government. To recognize the efforts of its pioneers we need to do something to honour this day and give it a public status. We will continue to engage the powers that be through the channels afforded to us to influence them to initiate these changes.

We demand that this day, 16 August, is made a national public holiday, so that we can continue to remember what happened, and so that it may never, ever happen again!

 

Noki House Hand over

We commemorate the legacy of the gallant revolutionaries that stood up against white monopoly capital that is in alliance with the brutal fascist state. The actions of Lonmin mineworkers, led by rock-drill operators who went on strike to demand a living wage, have left a significant mark in the history of South Africa and its labour movement.

The Farlam Commission has come and gone. The recommendations have been a compilation of smoke and shadow games, put forward by the then police commissioner, whose fate isn’t clear, despite a finding that she wasn’t fit to hold office.

As AMCU, we can report back to the Noki family, and show that we have carried through the mandate that comrade Mambush gave us. We are fighting tirelessly for a living wage in the mining sector. A majority of mineworkers have achieved a wage of R12, 500 in the platinum belt, with a base wage of R11, 500 for a surface worker.

Since the start of negotiations in 2014, we have managed to substantially increase the base wage from R4, 500 to R11, 500 within three years. Comrade Mambush, and others who fought for the same radical economic transformation, would be proud to know that workers in the platinum belt are now able to build their own homes, send money to their loved ones, and send their children to school because of his bravery and that of the other Lonmin workers who fought alongside him for a living wage.

AMCU continues to stand for the truth and the transformation of workers’ lives. Comrade Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki realised that they could no longer live under the exploitative tentacles of white monopoly capital, and therefore revolted against it. What comrade Mambush lacked in education, he supplemented with wisdom. He will be remembered and viewed in the same stature as other great revolutionaries of our land, such as Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Steve Bantu Biko, Chris Hani and Solomon Mahlangu.

What is unique about Mambush is that his death came at the hands of a democratic state, whereas Biko and Hani were killed under an oppressive Apartheid regime. Although the slain comrades did not leave behind any manuscripts or publications, the amount of academic work that has been written about them, particularly on ‘the man with the green blanket’, is a recognition of his contribution to the country’s body of knowledge.

 

Radical Economic Transformation

There is no union in South Africa, except for AMCU, that will address the topic of radical economic transformation. On the 16th of August 2012, the ANC killed AMCU members in Marikana for addressing radical economic transformation.

“Long Live the Spirit of Mambush, Long Live.”

Radical economic transformation means attaining economic freedom at any cost. It is the act of fighting for emancipation now, of fighting for the present socio-economic conditions to allow for transformation and to allow for the inclusion of previously disadvantaged people. The 34 mineworkers who were killed in 2012 asked for a living wage of R12, 500 from our government. In answer to their plight, the government responded with an ambush of the mineworkers by the SAPS and the military to have them killed.

Five years later, through mainstream media, the ANC is talking about how “now is the time to address radical economic transformation.” Yet one must ask, what radical economic transformation are they actually addressing? They killed the people who previously attempted to address this issue. Evidently, they only choose to address this topic when it suits them – don’t be fooled!

We can’t talk about economic transformation without questioning Black Economic Empowerment. Why is it called black economic empowerment? Why is it not rather called white economic empowerment? How is it the case that black people need empowerment in their own country?

The foreigners are the ones that need to be empowered. Foreigners cannot be given the power to empower you in your own country, because what is in this country already belongs to us.

Over the years, AMCU has come under scrutiny as a vigilant militant union. Numerous attempts have been made to destabilize and destroy the union, but none of these tactics have in any way been successful.

For as long as AMCU exists, the working class in South Africa will fight for emancipation. We are a union that does not take our mandate from any political party. Our parliament convenes during our mass meetings.