The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMUC), today hosted the 8th Commemoration Marikana Massacre Memorial Lecture honoring the lives of the 34 mineworkers who lost their lives when they were massacred by the SAPS on the tragic event of 16 August 2012.
The commemoration, hosted in Sandton featured Wits University’s Professor Noor Nieftagodien as the keynote speaker as well as Adil Nchabeleng, Transform RSA President as a guest speaker. This year’s memorial lecture sought to examine the consequences of the tragic event and how its legacy serves as a reminder of the unremitting economic struggles of the country’s working-class.
In his address, Professor Noor spoke of the importance of remembering historical events such as the Marikana Massacre in our country and not to be a country that suffers from forgetfulness. “It is important to remember the heroes who died during the plight for a R12 500 wage. It is equally important to remember that what followed were lies, cover-ups and commissions. These have not led to any justice, convictions or trials of the mine bosses who were at the heart of this wage dispute,” said Noor.
“The senseless violence that took place in Marikana is connected to the violence of the state that dates back many years in this country. Those who hold power responded by creating a narrative that suited their own interests which painted the struggling mineworkers as criminals who provoked the police to shoot them. When the apartheid regime was abolished, we all had hope that black lives would finally matter, but the Marikana Massacre slashed that narrative and reminded us that poor, black lives do not matter to our government,” he added.
Guest speaker, Nchabeleng said he would continue supporting AMCU in their efforts to comfort the families and loved ones of the deceased workers. “Today we commemorate the massacre of 34 miners who were butchered for daring to request better wages and better living conditions from Lonmin in Marikana in 2012. Even though the Mining Charter compels mines to take an active role in the upliftment and development of host communities and employees through a transfer of equity to both employees and the host communities, the people of Marikana continue to live in squalor while the company that mines their land takes profits out of the country. There is no political will to enforce the mining companies’ responsibility in terms of the Charter,” said Nchabeleng.
“We call on the President of the country to make his long overdue visit to Marikana. The visit should not only be symbolic, it should be accompanied by a solid actionable plan to right the wrongs that led to the events of 16th August 2012. He should seek to heal the open wounds that linger as a result of the lack of closure from the tragedy,” he concluded.
Every year since the Marikana Massacre, AMCU has commemorated together with various dignitaries, families, leaders, and members of the communities, the lives lost by the comrades who were massacred by the State. The 8th Annual Commemoration will take place on Sunday, 16 August 2020 in Gauteng due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) staged the 8th Marikana Massacre Commemoration at The Gracepoint Methodist Church in Midrand on Sunday, 16 August 2020 under the theme Their Blood Still Cries Out from the Ground.
Following the Marikana Commemoration Lecturer held on Friday 14 August, the 8th Commemoration included speakers such as UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and advocate Dali Mpofu all of whom called for justice on behalf of the victims of Marikana and their families.
Tebogo Mosikili from the AMCU Marikana Trust declared once again that the purpose of the Trust was to assist the families of all the deceased including all the AMCU members, security and SAPS personnel and members from other unions with building them houses.
“We want to emphasize to all the families that we decided to build houses of a high quality for all of you. Houses that reflect dignity,” said Mosikili.
He ended his address with a commitment stating that the Trust will complete building all the houses for all 44 families by the end of the year.
“Unfortunately, we would have loved to have finished this project but due to Covid-19 under lockdown levels 4 and 5, we had to halt construction as per the lockdown restrictions. But I want to assure all the families that we will have all the house built at the very latest by the end of the year.”
Advocate Dali Mpofu confirmed the cases that were still pending which included the case of the deceased, the case of the survivors (injured and arrested), the case of the widows, the personal case against President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the case against Lonmin.
“Of all these cases, the only one which has been settled is that of those who were arrested for a week and then released. However, the victims who have been maimed and murdered have not been compensated,” said Mpofu.
“There is also a case against Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity. His legal team has taken legal technicalities against engaging with the families of the victims and to apologize. We have heard from the widows, who oftentimes have stated that the apology is more important than the compensation as this is what brings closure,” added Mpofu.
The commemoration culminated in a keynote address by AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa who declared that the Marikana Massacre should be called the Sibanye Massacre as Marikana only refers to the place where it happens and not the responsible party.
“Although no longer Lonmin, the takeover by Sibanye was to save the face of Capital, and to cleanse their reputation. As they say in their parallel engagements, they want to “dismantle the legacy.”
“How can they do this? How can they sweep their evil deeds under the carpet? We will not allow it. Never! Sibanye still operates with the same,” articulated President Mathunjwa.
“What happened on 16 August 2012 was carefully planned and orchestrated by the unholy alliance of State and Capital to protect their interests. This transformed a democratically elected government to a fascist state. From the first commemoration, in our messages and addresses, we told them, that it is time to transform our economy. Look at where we are now!”
The President also touched on the ailing economy, the South African labour market, transformation of our electoral system and addressed Gender-Based violence.
“Day-in and day-out women are killed, and the girlchild is maimed, raped and killed. There is no stop to this. The women are on their own,” he lamented.
“They have been crying for help, but the only thing they get is promises, summits, commissions, protest marches, eloquent speeches, and talk shops.”
“If the government is really serious, what is it that stops them from bringing back the death penalty. Why? Currently, criminals know they will face no real hardship. They serve maybe 25 years, then they get a presidential pardon, and then they are out.”
“If we have the death penalty for classified and prioritised crimes, they will know what will happen to them. If this government really cared about the contribution of women who bear the tears and scars of Apartheid, to bring this country into the new dispensation, what stops the State from amending the Constitution and its regulatory framework? He concluded.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will be hosting a memorial lecture and commemorative event this week to pay homage to the 44 workers who perished during the Lonmin platinum strike of August 2012. However, the Union questions the motives behind parallel events organised by Sibanye-Stillwater, and slams the former Public Protector for participating in the parallel events.
Every year since the Marikana Massacre, AMCU has commemorated, together with various dignitaries, guests, leaders, and members of the communities, the lives lost by the comrades who were massacred by the State. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, AMCU will host the two main events during this week of commemoration with small physical gatherings coupled with remote participation via online methods.
The first event will be the customary Memorial Lecture which will take place on Friday, 14 August 2020, and the main event will be the commemoration on 16 August 2020. In line with the Disaster Management Act (DMA) regulations, both these events will consist of small physical gatherings of no more than fifty (50) persons lasting for not more than two (2) hours, with all the necessary precautions of hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and social distancing being observed.
While this is the eighth time that AMCU commemorates the Massacre, it has come to light that the current owner of the former Lonmin Marikana platinum mine in North-West, Sibanye-Stillwater, is organising parallel events to that of AMCU.
“As AMCU we are very disappointed in this move by Sibanye”, said AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa. “One wonders how they can undermine the struggle of workers, in particular black mineworkers, in this fashion”, he said. “How can the capitalists hijack the pain and suffering of workers for their personal gain as a PR exercise”, Mathunjwa asked. “We view this as a total onslaught on AMCU and the spirits of those workers who were killed by the very same capitalists using their influence over the government”, he added.
In 2018, Sibanye-Stillwater announced that it would merge with Lonmin, but it soon became apparent that the so-called merger was in actual fact a take-over. AMCU spent millions to oppose the merger and eventually took the matter all the way to the Competitions Appeal Court. However, ultimately Sibanye was successful in swallowing Lonmin, of which the Marikana operations form part.
“We have said it before, and we will say it again. This takeover of Lonmin was no mere business decision. It was carefully planned that Sibanye will be handed Lonmin as a trophy, in recognition of its consistent undermining of AMCU and workers’ rights in general”, said Mathunjwa. AMCU is not supportive of the parallel events run by Sibanye, putting forward that it is a well-orchestrated plan to cleanse the legacy of big business and the unholy alliance which sought to protect the structural economic inequality, whose collusion led to the death of 44 workers.
“It is clear what they are doing”, said Mathunjwa. “They want to create a platform for them to erase history and twist it to suit their agenda. We will not allow it. We will not allow this to be swept under the carpet. AMCU will continue to remind the world of what happened during August 2012, and specifically on 16 August 2012. Until such time as the State owns up to what they did and bring restitution to the communities and families affected by the Massacre, there will be no healing and no closure”, he said. “Their blood still cries from the ground”, Mathunjwa added.
AMCU has received news that the parallel memorial lecture organised by Sibanye will have the former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela as keynote speaker.
“We are very disappointed in the former Public Protector for participating in this event. She is a respected leader and an influential person in South Africa, and one would expect her to be more sensitive to the issues at hand”, said Mathunjwa. “She [Madonsela] never even set a foot on the mountain [kopje]. It is an insult to the economic revolutionary martyrs who died there”, Mathunjwa concluded.
The Memorial Lecture will be held in commemoration of the 34 mineworkers who lost their lives at the hands of the South African Police Service (SAPS) during a strike for better wage on 16 August 2012
11 August 2020, Johannesburg – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will host a memorial lecture on Thursday, 13 August at The Capital in Sandton ahead of the 8th Annual Marikana Massacre Commemoration on Sunday, 16 August.
The Memorial Lecture will further seek to examine the consequences of this tragedy and how its legacy serves as a reminder of the unremitting economic struggles of the country’s working-class.
The 8th Annual Marikana Massacre Commemoration which normally draws crowds of over 16 000 people at the Koppie in Marikana, will this year be held at a venue to be confirmed on Sunday, 16 August due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions. The Marikana Massacre Commemoration has become a significant annual event in AMCU’s calendar and has attracted global interest from international audiences and stakeholders.
In 2012 34 mineworkers were shot and killed by the SAPS at Lonmin’s Platinum operation (now Sibanye-Stillwater) in Marikana during a protest action by the mineworkers who were demanding a better living wage of R12 500.
The event sparked international condemnation and was immediately classified as a massacre and brutal response by the South African government on the plight of South African workers.