We are all Marikana – Widows respond to the end of the Farlam Commission

This emotional clips looks at the last days of the Farlam Commission It lets the grieving widows explain how they felt about the process and asks important questions about what we can expect. – We are all Marikana.

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Miners Shot Down has won the Cinema for Peace Award for Justice

“To be presented an award by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is very affirming. We have a just cause and one day those behind the Marikana massacre will face trial and therefore the consequences.” (Rehad Desai, Director)

South African documentary film, Miners Shot Down, has won the Cinema for Peace Award for Justice, 2015.  The Cinema for Peace Award for Justice was initiated in 2009, together with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The announcement was made in Berlin at the Awards Gala on February 9th, 2015.

This year’s Cinema for Peace Award for Justice was deliberated on by a group of very powerful figures, including the chief prosecutor of the ICC. This means that people will be looking very closely at the evidence of political collusion that is highlighted by the film. For example, the role of Cyril Ramaphosa, the current Deputy President of South Africa, who at the time of the massacre was a shareholder and a non-executive board member of Lonmin, as well as a senior member of the ANC.

Cyril Ramaphosa is a known skilled negotiator. The strikers’ key demand was to negotiate with Lonmin management. Ramaphosa chose not to procure peaceful dialogue in August 2012. Instead he communicated with cabinet ministers on the need to escalate the use of force to end the strike.

Cinema for Peace has supported a number of important causes with the help of artists such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and personalities such as the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali, Bill and Hillary Clinton, president Mikhail Gorbachev and our former Honorary Patron Nelson Mandela.

Several winning films have been screened at special occasions and campaigns, including at the UN General Assembly and in a campaign to save Sakineh Ashtiani from death by stoning. The Cinema for Peace Justice Award for Miners Shot Down bolsters the case for all those responsible for the massacre to get their day in court.

“Endorsement by icons like Nelson Mandela and George Clooney will help to propel the film and its campaign for justice to greater heights. We won’t rest until the victims of the massacre get justice.” Rehad Desai, Director.

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Press Release for Lonmin AGM – 29th January 2015

This following press release has been prepared by the Marikana Support Campaign for the Lonmin AGM scheduled for tomorrow (29th January 2015).

Lonmin: Take Responsibility for the Marikana Massacre

South African police shot dead 34 miners at Marikana on 16th August 2012, and injured more than 80. The miners worked for UK-based Lonmin and were on strike for a living wage.

This week in central London, on Thursday 29 January, a group of women will lobby Lonmin’s shareholders and demand that the corporation takes responsibility for its role in the massacre.

The women will stand outside Lonmin’s shareholders’ meeting holding up pictures of relatives who were left bereaved and destitute by the massacre and have since been campaigning for justice. Continue reading

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Can the Farlam Commission Deliver Justice for the Slain Miners?

James Nichol is a criminal lawyer based in London who specialises in cases involving the miscarriage of justice; these have included the ‘Bridgewater Four’ case, the UK miners’ strike of 1984-85, and the ‘Bloody Sunday’ inquiry. During the Farlam Commission, he has represented families of many of the miners killed in the Marikana massacre. This interview was conducted by Amandla! on 30 November 2014.

Amandla! (A!): There is often an impression that commissions of inquiry are used to contain political damage rather than for any real pursuit of justice. Is there reason to believe the Farlam Commission will defy this impression?

Jim Nichol: Part of the reason for having the commission was to avoid having to prosecute the police. When you see those images on television, it’s obvious there must be a murder investigation; people must be held to account. By setting up a commission, Zuma avoided that. Two years and three months, later no police officer has been held to account.

Continue reading

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Miners Shot Down continues to create waves in the festival circuit and we hope at the Lonmin AGM at the end of January

 “It is impossible not to be both appalled and deeply moved by not only the human injustice but also the political tragedy which Marikana represents. It is essential viewing. It is impossible to watch without feeling a profound sense of outrage. (Lee Hall, screenwriter Inter Alia of Billy Elliot).

Miners Shot Down has been nominated for competition at two of Africa’s most prestigious film festivals: Luxor in Egypt and FESPACO in Burkina Faso.

“We are overjoyed about the prospect of millions of Africans seeing this story on TV sets and in local cinemas. Both of these festivals are highly respected and this will give further exposure to one of South Africa’s most important events in the post apartheid period.” (Rehad Desai, Director of Miners Shot Down).

Outside of Africa, the documentary has been nominated for the Cinema for Peace Award. The Gala event will take place in Berlin on 9 February 2015.

Continue reading

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Final submissions at the end of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry – 5-15 November

1The long running Farlam Commission is drawing to an end and the dates for the final evidence have been set. From the 4th to 15th, evidence leaders and others will present their final documents and arguments. The Commission, appointed by President Jacob Zuma, has run since the 23rd of August 2012 has been mandated to investigate “matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana.” To date, the Commission has sat for 293 days where evidence from 56 witnesses has been presented including SAPS, the injured and arrested Lonmin miners, expert witnesses and members from Lonmin, AMCU and NUM. The final report is to be submitted to the President in March 2015.

As the Commission draws to a close we spoke to Rehad Desai who shares his hope for a positive outcome:

“we can expect from the findings and recommendation of The Commission are  the demilitarisation of the police, the need for detailed public order policing policy  and perhaps most importantly, a very clear indictment of what happened immediately after the shootings we saw on our screens. It is  highly conceivable that The Commission find,  given the falsification, deception and concealment of evidence by SAPS, that the police commanders responsible for the 17 killings at scene two, that the policemen in question were most likely involved in unlawful killings.”

Many however expect that there will be some negative outcomes from The Commission. Desai suggests that:

“despite the weight of substantive evidence that points to a premeditated plan to break the strike, which resulted in the use of deadly force on the 16th August, it is expected that The Farlam Commission will  find that there  is no hard evidence to show that the police  had clear intentions to murder strikers. The judgement, much like in the Pretorius case, will be fudged, as there are number of variables at play. Most conspicuously absent  in the findings will be the responsibility of Government Ministers and Lonmin Executives despite substantive evidence that points to collusion at the highest level.  “

For an excellent discussion of the outcomes of The Commission, Greg Nicolson provides a detailed account of what is likely to come from The Commission in his article for the “Daily Maverick “which can be accessed here.  For more updates on the final submission please visit our Facebook page (Miners Shot Down) and website http://www.minersshotdown.co.za.

As a show of solidarity, we invite all interested parties to attend The Commission on the 12 of November, where the injured and arrested miners will be making their final presentations.

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Charges dropped against Marikana Miners

Charges Dropped against Marikana Miners

On the 29th of August 2012, 270 Lonmin Miners were accused of the murder and attempted murder of the 34 miners who were shot and killed by the South African Police Service during the Marikana strike. The charges were constructed according to an apartheid era law, which allows for charges to be drawn up on the basis of a ‘common purpose’ and was used to arrest MK cadres for the crimes of their comrades. Advocate Johan Smit, Director of Public Prosecutions, who was responsible for the decision to charge the miners, was careful to avoid this connection, and chose rather to refer to a separate case where an exchange of gunfire between police and armed robbers resulted in the robbers being changed for the death of an innocent bystander killed by the police. In a press interview (02/09/2012) Smit struggled to explain how the Miners could be compared to armed robbers who were firing on the police. This poor reasoning suggests the charges were not motivated by sound legal principles but perhaps political reasons, a sentiment echoed by the miners and concerned civil society groups.

On the 20th of August 2014, the murder charges against the Lonmin 270 miners were dropped. The charges were withdrawn by Magistrate Esau Bodigelo on the grounds that it would have been impossible for the state to win the case. Dali Mpofu, the lawyer representing the miners expressed his relief that the charges had been withdrawn and hopes that the remaining charges will similarly be thrown out.  The miners still face charges of public violence and the murder of two police officers, two security guards and non- striking mine workers.

With The Farlam Commission of Inquiry drawing to a close, we eagerly anticipate the final findings and hope that all those who are guilty of committing criminal acts at Marikana are brought to justice, without fear or favour.

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