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.