March 21st was declared a day of commemoration to foster a culture of human rights enshrined in our constitution. These very rights are now under threat, as deaths that can be attributed to the police have increased exponentially over the past few years. The brazen killing of striking miners demanding the right to negotiate wages and the failure to prosecute one single office has allowed the police to continue to act in a brutal. The Marikana Support Campaign has joined hands with the United Front, the Right To Know Campaign and many others to transform March 21 into a day of action.

This marks the beginning of a new phase for the support campaign where we join hands with the widest array of forces possible to demand accountability and ultimately justice. Following our  belief that justice delayed is justice denied we will use March 21 to demand the report that is to be handed over to President Zuma at the end of this month be published no later than the end of April.  During April we will outline what findings the final report of the commission will need to assert if Justice is to be done.

We urge all those who understand that the real culprits of the massacre are those police that ordered the shooting and those that fired upon the miners, the politicans who sanctioned the the use of live ammunition, and last but not least  senior Lonmin management to get into campaign mode and support our call to protest on the day. What you decide to do is in your hands, but please do something.

Activity can take many forms. It may simply mean organising a screening of Miners Shot Down. It could be holding a meeting where we invite one or two persons to address the meeting about the role of the police over the past years. Please see the submission to the Farlam commission attached.  It could be that you organise a vigil or picket of the police station.

Please see the list of activity, whatever you are doing please inform us so we can do our bit to bring attention to it and put you in touch with people who maybe able to assist.   At present we have 25 actions that we know are taking place. We hoping that this can double to 50 over the next days. We plan to send out a comprehensive list of activities  by this coming Thursday.

The campaign kicks-off with a picket outside the US consulate in Sandton on Wednesday 18 March to highlight police brutality against Afro-American communities will move through the country; touching major cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The action will also take place in small towns such as Thabong in Welkom; Whittlesea and Peddie in the Eastern Cape. The actions will focus on how ordinary people can reclaim their rights; the issue of police brutality; a demand for justice for Marikana miners; xenophobia as a form of abuse; the rendering of crime and justice institutions such as the Hawks, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) dysfunctional; and the growing undermining of the right to privacy and freedom association by intelligence operatives.

The form of action for the week will be varied; ranging from night vigils, human chains around targeted police stations and setting of tombstones for 44 people who have been killed by the police during protests since 2004.

Download the Schedule of events here.

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Miners Shot Down wins Jury’s first prize at FESPACO 2015

FESPACO 2105 WinnerSouth African filmmaker Rehad Desai’s Miners Shot Down scooped the Jury’s first prize at FESPACO, Africa’s premier Film and TV festival. This is the first win for a South African documentary at this biannual event that has been running now for over 45 years, the documentary competition included film from 19 countries.

The film takes a forensic real time at the Marikana massacre of 2012 where 34 miners were killed and over 100 injured. Its been described as ‘devastating cinema’ and a heart wrenching film that resonates far beyond its borders with a story that interrogates the power and ruthlessness of capitalist exploitation in an age of increasing economic inequality.

The film won the Cinema for Peace Justice Award in February this year which is designed to single out the most valuable film in the fight for social and legal justice produced in the world during 2014.  In addition it won the Audience Prize in January 2015 at the prestigious Black Movie Film Festival in Switzerland where it competed with 60 other documentary and fiction films from around the world.

The FESPACO award now provides a total of 11 festival prizes making this film one of South Africa’s most acclaimed film for many years. The film has been nominated for numerous South African Film and Television Awards scheduled to be announced later this month.

Rehad Desai stated ‘the win at FESPACO means so much to both me and the team behind this film, being affirmed by our fellow African filmmakers and the huge audiences in Burkina Faso provides us with the encouragement we need to continue to take this film out to the widest possible numbers at home and abroad to ensure that justice and truth wins the day.’

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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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