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.
Before the miners went on strike in August 2012, Lonmin met them to discuss their demands, but once the strike started Lonmin refused to talk to them, contrary to its own written procedures.
Lonmin called in the police on 9th August, before the strikers had even held their first demonstration.
On the day of the massacre Lonmin colluded with the police, supported the police plan to break the strike and provided logistical support to the police. This was the police force that arrived heavily armed with machine gun rifles, and ordered in advance mortuary vans ready to pick up the dead.
The killings did not end the strike and Lonmin eventually had to meet the strikers and negotiate.
After the massacre, the South African President set up a commission of inquiry which listened to evidence from October 2012 to November 2014. It will publish its report during 2015.
Lonmin was legally represented at the Commission but no senior director gave evidence or a written statement to the Commission.
According to evidence at the Commission:
- In 2009, to meet its obligations under the Mining Charter and to renew its mining licence, Lonmin agreed to build 5,500 houses. To date they have built three. At Marikana the miners live in shacks with no running water or sanitation.
- Lonmin claims financial difficulty, yet it has diverted billions of South African Rands, almost 5% of turnover in recent years, to Bermuda and London.
Lonmin must take responsibility for the families of the miners who died. It should:
- make an ex-gratia payment to all the families affected.
- continue to educate all the children of those killed.
- provide proper housing with running water, sanitation and electricity.
Lonmin should also support the proposal that 16th August becomes a day of remembrance and reconciliation, and donate generously towards a memorial statue at Marikana.
Apartheid ended 20 years ago. Lonmin needs to start treating its workers like human beings.
The women’s protest will be held from 9am-10am on 29 January 2015 on Broad Sanctuary, at the entrance to Dean’s Yard, Westminister, London SW1P 3NZ. The Lonmin Shareholders’ meeting is at The Assembly Hall, Church House Conference Centre, Dean’s Yard.
For more information: Margaret Renn, 07946 629 350 Marikana Support Campaign