Marikana Massacre – Families seek legal action and discussion of Marikana Report

As we gear up to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Marikana massacre several organisations and allies have been working tirelessly to continue the fight for justice for those affected by the Massacre. The families of the slain Marikana Miners, with support from The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) , the Legal Resources Center (LRC) and the WITS Law Clinic have filed civil claims against the Government. The full press release is attached below:

Download: Families of Marikana mineworkers file civil claims against
Government – SERI.pdf

The Marikana Support Campaign has also released a press statement requesting that the State takes a morally correct stance on the Marikana victims compensation claims.

Download: The State needs take the morally correct stance on the Marikana victims compensation claims – Marikana Support Campaign.pdf

David Bruce for the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has provided a summary and discussion of the report of the Marikana Commission. The report is essential reading for those who want to understand where the report failed to properly address the events of 9-16 August and how its ‘key framing argument’ needs to be reviewed.

Download:  Summary and discussion of the report of the Marikana Commission – David Bruce.pdf

Please remember to check our blog regularly for updates and follow us on Facebook for more information.

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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – Rehad Desai on the Marikana Massacre

Over 1000 days ago the South African police opened fire with R5 machine guns on striking miners at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, killing 34 of them in what is now known as the Marikana Massacre. Since the massacre  the Farlam Commission has been held to investigate the lead up to the tragic events of the 16th of August 2012 and also to establish who should take responsibility for the loss of life. Several months after the release of the final report no action has been taken against the police, Lonmin or the politicians implicated in the massacre.

As the 3rd anniversary of the massacre draws nearer we are once again picking up the fight for justice on behalf of those slain, and those left behind by the horrific events at Marikana. Rehad Desai, director of Miners Shot Down considers the implications of the Farlam Commission and the importance of continuing to struggle for justice at Marikana in an op-ed available here: The Daily Maverick – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied by Rehad Desai

Several events are also being organised to mark 3 years since the massacre, for a full list, please check out the Marikana Day Facebook Event Page and Amandla.Mobi website. If you would like to organize an event in your town, please register your with Amandla.Mobi and we will include it in our program.

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Miners Shot Down Facilitators Guide – Engaging Dialogue

Miners Shot Down - Facilitators Guide

Miners Shot Down is more than a documentary film. It’s part of a much broader campaign which works on behalf of the families of those killed and injured at Marikana Massacre and the 270 miners arrested by the state. The movement is spearheaded by the Marikana Support Campaign and is supported by a range of legal NGO’s and other groups. The Campaign aims to expose the truth of what happened at Marikana, work for justice for those slain and the families they leave behind, and provide tools for community based organisations to support the work of public interest and non-governmental organisations.

The Miners Shot Down film has played a  central role to building the campaign. With screenings across the globe the film has taken the story of what happened to the miners at Marikana to large auditoriums and small community spaces. Out of these screenings free and open dialogues  have emerged, conversations between participants that have helped to not only create awareness of what happened, but have also developed critical responses and calls to actions to support the campaign.

To help facilitate these discussions we have produced a facilitators guide that can be used in conjunction with the film. The guide aims to empower participants by allowing them to express their opinions so that they can learn from the film and from each other. We have made the Facilitators guide available for public download and it can be found at the link below.

Pleases don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions, it’s only through continued dialogue that we can grow and continue our battle for justice.

download

 

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MARIKANA SUPPORT CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE: THE FARLAM REPORT: HOSTILE TO WORKERS FROM THE OUTSET

 

The Farlam Report opens with a finding that squarely blames the strikers for the violence. By placing this upfront, Farlam sets the tone for what is to come:

“…the tragic events that occurred during the period 12 to 16 August 2012 originated from the decision and conduct of the strikers in embarking on an unprotected strike and in enforcing the strike by violence and intimidation, using dangerous weapons for the purpose.”

This statement is offered as a fact that we have to accept. But it is an opinion. There is no evidence to back it up. The Marikana Support Campaign considers this finding as a gross defamation of the miners.

At the same time, despite a run of evidence to the contrary, Farlam and his Commissioners exonerate Ramaphosa and other government ministers. Lonmin is substantially exonerated.

By tarnishing thousands of miners as being responsible for the violent acts of a few, it becomes possible to conclude that the police had reasonable grounds to shoot 17 miners at Scene 1.

During the Commission of Inquiry, senior SAPs officers committed perjury and wholesale fabrication of evidence. While SAPs is rightly castigated, the Commission’s findings are based on the ‘cock up’ theory of mismanagement and poor planning. The Marikana Support Campaign contends that this is insufficient. The evidence clearly points to an attack that was preplanned, and the direct result of pressure from the government.

In the coming months, the Marikana Support Campaign will be consulting widely on the form of an independent, civil society led, initiative that will seek to analyse the evidence presented before the commission. This will result in a published, authoritative report into the massacre at Marikana.

In the interim, taking the evidence that was presented to the Commission into full account, below are the minimal principal findings that the Farlam Commission should have made.

On 16 August 2012

  1. 17 miners at Scene 1 were murdered by SAPS officers, many using R5 machine gun rifles.
  2. There was no attempt by miners at Scene 1 to attack SAPs officers.
  3. SAPS officers hunted down and killed a further 17 miners at Scene 2. Many were executed whilst surrendering.
  4. 270 miners shot and injured at Scene 1 and 2, were the victims of attempted murder by SAPS officers.
  5. SAPS fabricated evidence at Scene 2 by planting weapons on dead miners.

On 13 August 2012

  1. There was an unprovoked attack on peaceful miners by SAPS causing death and chaos.
  2. SAPS is primarily responsible for the deaths of three miners, two police officers and the shooting and injuring of more than 20 miners and a police officer.
  3. One miner, Mr Sokanyile, was hunted down, targeted and executed by a SAPS officer 800 metres from the original scene.

On 11 August 2012

  1. Unarmed striking miners were attacked by members of the National

Union of Mineworkers. Two striking miners were shot in the back with firearms issued by NUM officials.

On Self-defense by strikers

  1. Following the attacks on the miners on 11th and 13th August, the    decision to carry spears and pangas to defend themselves against further attack was justified.

On Attempts to Negotiate

  1. The only party who consistently endeavored to negotiate was the striking miners. On each day, often on several occasions, the miners requested to meet with management, only to be rebuffed.

On Lonmin

  1. The evidence discloses that the primary purpose of the strategy adopted by Lonmin was to ensure that the strike was defeated quickly by SAPS, thus preserving the profitability of Lonmin. To this end Lonmin colluded throughout with SAPS.

On Ramaphosa, Mthethwa, Shabangu, NUM, Lonmin and SAPS

  1. The tragic events that occurred during the period 12 to 16 August 2012 originated from the decisions and conduct of the above parties in refusing to treat the miners as decent human beings and in enforcing such decisions by violence and intimidation, using dangerous weapons in particular the R5 machine gun rifle, capable of discharging 600 rounds per minute.
  2. This report would not be complete without a condemnation in the strongest terms of the violent manner in which the strike was to be broken.

Prosecutions and Suspensions

The Marikana Support Campaign fully endorses the Economic Freedom Fighters’ decision to open criminal cases against Cyril Rampaphosa, Nathi Mthethwa, Susan Shabangu, Riah Phiyega and Lonmin executives. This is in accordance with the damning evidence that exposes the ‘toxic collusion’ that took place to crush the strike that resulted in the killings and injuries.

Finally, the SAPS officers who murdered miners are still walking the streets of South Africa. They should be immediately suspended.

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Bishop Jo Seoka’s statement on the Marikana Report

The Rt. Dr Jo Seoka, Bishop Anglican Diocese of Pretoria and  Chairperson Bench Marks Foundation comments on the Marikana-Report in a statement entitled „Blaming the victim“ as follows:

The release of the Farlam report and its findings is welcomed with disbelief and confirmation of our suspicions.

The commission appointed by the President had to serve the aspirations and wants of the master. To have expected anything other than what is in the report would equal to expect the responsible judge to bite the hand that feeds him. That would be disrespectful of the master – and nobody in his right senses would want to do that if his life is dependent on the master’s feed.

Having sat in on most of the hearings from Rustenburg to Centurion, I never expected anything that will favour the victims but would favour the one who calls the tune.  So I am not surprised that once again the victim has been the subjected to blame by the powerful in the land. I think this was the reason of giving the Marikana Commission limited powers so that the truth does not come out but remains the reserve of the elitist classes who live on oppressing and exploitation of the working classes.

It does not make sense that the findings put much blame on the striking miners whose human rights were violated by both the corporation and the government. The workers in my knowledge only wanted to have the company discuss with them their grievances that would address their aspirations and restore their dignity. They, like all of us, desired to get out of the shame of mere survival and to live respectfully. The result of course is that they remain disgraced and humiliated. So they died in vain despite their votes that put the ruling party into power.

On the contrary, there is sufficient evidence that Lonmin is guilty of negligence for failing to attend to the rights of their workers – even to listen to their grievances.

In addition, on the one hand there is no doubt that the police collaborated with the government and used live ammunition on the indefensible and peaceful strikers who had assembled on the koppie to engage their employer on their living and working conditions, and on the other hand, there is no evidence that on the day of the massacre, the strikers charged at the police.

The decision for the ‘D-day’ had been taken by the police, to ‘kill this thing’ because instruction had been given for a ‘concomitant action’ to be taken. At least this is what I understood from Lieutenant General Mbombo when I visited Marikana few hours before the massacre.  Why did they not trust Mathunjwa who had been entrusted with the promise by management that they will talk? And why was I not listened to when I conveyed the striker’s aspirations and needs. I have no doubt that one more day would have produced better results than the massacre.

Two days before the incident, Lonmin had been warned by the Bench Marks Foundation that there was possible eruption of violence in the mines because the workers and the locals were unhappy with the situation in Marikana due to the lack of housing and unhealthy living and dangerous working conditions. And now, even with the release of the Farlam report, the social conditions have not been attended to. So, blaming the worker’s organisations is not justifiable but a travesty of justice and a vindication of state power and influence of capital.

The use of violence in any situation cannot be condoned – it is wrong and unacceptable. But there is need to do some introspection before pointing a finger at others lest one is blamed for wrong judgement. The outcome of the report shows lack of integrity on our leadership which is self-serving. If this was not true there wouldn’t be as many service delivery protests as there are. The report reflects preference towards an uncaring government which uses the working classes for its own end. The recommendation to further investigate is another whitewash and nothing tangible must be expected of it because there is enough evidence right now to prosecute those who contributed to the massacre.

It is a fact that Lonmin contributed to the deaths of its employees by forcing them to return to work knowing that the situation was dangerous and could result in injury, if not death. Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged action that would end the strike in favour of capitalism in order to protect his shares, and the police ordered use of force which killed 34 miners.  The Justice cluster must have known that use of lethal force would result in killing people. The president knew that the house was on fire but left for Mozambique instead of intervening in the unprecedented massacre. If these facts are not good enough to make leadership accountable, nothing will.

The president’s failure to apologise means it’s time for him to go and all those who contributed to the massacre. Focusing on Phiyega and Mbombo is not an answer but a cover up for the executive. It is a well-known fact that both are unfit for the office they hold. So, the government owes the workers and their families an unconditional apology and compensation for the loss of their bread winners. The government must, as matter of principle, withdraw the Lonmin’s license for mining. Lonmin have been promising an improvement in the housing conditions of their workers, yet they continue to live in slums.

Both the government and Lonmin must as a matter of restitution build a memorial monument in commemoration of the fallen workers and August 16th declared a public holiday. If these issues are not done, the report will remain salt to the wounds of our people and history is very likely to repeat itself.

The Rt. Dr Jo Seoka, Bishop Anglican Diocese of Pretoria and  Chairperson Bench Marks Foundation.

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Press Release: The Marikana Report is Released

Issued by: Marikana Support Campaign
Friday 26 June 2015

The long awaited report of the Farlam Commission has been released. Despite an understanding that lawyers of the families of those slain on 16 August 2012 would be given 48 hours notice to prepare, distressingly this did not happen. This behavior showed no regard for the victims, many of whom attended the commission day after day and have anticipated this day for almost three years.

Following a cursory reading of the report, the ‘executive summary’ read out by President Zuma missed out at least two important recommendations of the report. These are that,

1/ Lonmin be investigated by the NPA for urging workers to break the strike despite violence during the dispute.
2/ NUM be investigated by the NPA for the shooting of strikers on the 12th.

Investigations by the NPA

 The overall tone of the report heavily leans towards a vilification of the strikers. This is followed by a recommendation that scores of miners be investigated.

While we cannot have a quarrel that the hundred plus police who discharged their weapons be investigated, the prospect of this investigation making any headway given the huge scale of this process is highly unlikely.  The issue of individual culpability at scene 1 will be dealt with at the coming press conference.

Recommendations

 After 300 days of the commission sitting, the fact that recommendations have been made for further inquiries to take place into the fitness to hold office of the National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega and former Provincial Police Commissioner, General Mbombo, is wasteful and unreasonable. Sufficient evidence was presented before the commission to determine that both these senior police commissioners are bloody-minded, acted in collusion with Lonmin and are incompetent and therefore not fit to hold office.

The exoneration of Cyril Ramaphosa, Nathi Mthwetha, Susan Shabangu and the entire executive is perhaps the most shocking finding of all. In terms of Ramaphosa this is nothing short of a whitewash. Clear evidence was presented at the commission that he colluded with both ministers, and through them, the executive, to break the strike. Not to acknowledge that he, as a Lonmin board member and shareholder, used his seniority in the ANC to motivate for use of deadly force by the state to break a strike that was crippling the mine while breaking the political hegemony of NUM, is the most unforgiving element of the report.

By vilifying the strikers who were simply seeking to enter into a dialogue with their employers, the Marikana Report has inflicted a deep and dangerous wound on our young democracy. Instead of facilitating healing, the report has poured salt on the psychic wounds of the families of the slain miners. It not only fails to acknowledge the shocking act of violence unleashed upon the strikers, it also fails to recommend compensation for those who have been left without a breadwinner.

The Marikana Support Campaign, together with affiliate organisations and supporters inside the trade union movement, will not allow the lives lost in Marikana to be in vain. We owe it them, their families, the injured and arrested and perhaps most importantly to the democracy that so many sacrificed their lives to achieve.

On Monday 29 June, the Marikana Support Campaign will hold a press conference to further interrogate the findings and recommendations contained in the report and elaborate on a number of demands that will be pursued in the coming period.

Monday June 29 – 10am
34 Eloff Street, Johannesburg  CBD
Ground Floor meeting room

For more information contact
Rehad Desai 083 997 9204

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Marikana Massacre Report – What to expect.

The Marikana Massacre report was handed to President Jacob Zuma to review early in April 2015. To date the report has not been released to the public, and the only statements released from the President have been attempts to delay releasing the report further. Since the release of the report one high level police officer, Lt Gen Zukiswa Mbombo has resigned for unknown reasons. There have also been suggestions that the report questions current Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness for office.

While the President continues to ‘process’ the Marikana Massacre report the public is left to speculate as to the reports contents. Martin Legassick has put together a summary of the findings of the Farlam Commission with specific attention paid to any recommendations put forward from the evidence leaders. Legassicks document provides insight into what might be expected from the final report however we cannot be sure which recommendations have been included until the final report is released. It is also important to note that it is very unlikely that the final report will provide recommendations beyond those detailed by Legassick.

Download the full document here: Summary of Evidence leaders presentation to Marikana Commission file:pdf size:167kb

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