Marikana Six Years Later: The public demands justice for victims
by: Terry Simelane-Mathabathe - 17 August 2018
We spoke to protesters at the Marikana Commemorative Vigil at the Nelson Mandela Bridge
16 August 2018 marks the 6 year anniversary of the Marikana tragedy where police shot and killed 34 miners. To mark and commemorate the day, protesters gathered on the Nelson Mandela bridge, in the Johannesburg CBD.
Six years later, no arrests and prosecutions have been made and families of the slain miners are still awaiting compensation from the government.
The vigil organised by Marikana Support Campaign was attended by approximately 50 people including rights organisations, Right2Know, Socio-Economic Rights Institute, Voices of the Poor Concerned Residents, Soweto Women’s Forum, United Front and Amandla mobi, clergy and citizens both young and old. Pictures of the slain miners were strung across the bridge We spoke to some of the protesters and asked them why they feel that protests in honor of Marikana are still necessary six years later. This is what they had to say:
“We saw the killings but didn’t see any justice. We want to see [the perpetrators] arrested and in jail. They only arrested protesters but not police. We hold [protests] to help the families get healing.” Simphiwe Zwane
“I think that this is the only way [by protesting and standing together] that we can be safe. We need to continue to agitate the system. It is up to us to keep reminding people of what happened to our brothers. We need to keep doing this to remind mining companies.” Mpumelelo
“I am protesting because six years later there is still no justice, no prosecutions and no compensation for the families.” Anonymous
“They are victims that are still traumatised. There are children that have no fathers and there’s no help. These protests will not end until we get what we want.” Anonymous
“Protests [like this one] ensure that people listen. Actions speak louder than words. We need to take action to get attention.” Bishop Seoka
Leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, has been vocal of the ANC and he offered scathing commentary on the role of the party and its president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for their role in the events that unfolded in Marikana. In a tweet Malema said that the massacre was “proudly brought to you by Cyril Ramaphosa”.
Remember the butchering of defenceless workers by the @MYANC government at Marikana on this day. Let’s call it by a rightful name #MarikanaMassacre, proudly brought to you by @CyrilRamaphosa. pic.twitter.com/f0AujbLmZc
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) August 16, 2018
A new report by independent researcher and Marikana expert, David Bruce, on the incident has been released which reveals new information on the events of that fateful day. The report has rejected the version of events by the police. The police stated that miners shot at them and they defended themselves. According to report, the miners did not attack the police as suggested.
You can read the report here
Do you think that justice was served for the #MarikanaMassacre?