ANNIVERSARY | A Tribute to the Marikana Martyrs from the New Generation

by Kamogelo Mofihli, MWP , Marikana

The Capitalist agent CR17 – President Cyril Ramaphosa – showed us that capitalism was and still is the cancer of this nation.

The tragic events of the Marikana massacre could have been avoided by acknowledging the Marikana mineworkers’ demand for a R12,500 p/m basic salary. This would have prevented the loss of many lives.

But instead CR17 himself described the strike not as a labour dispute but as “dastardly criminal act” and called for “concomitant action” to be taken to address the situation. The concomitant action that was taken was the public execution of the mineworkers who were only fighting for a pay rise.

Ramaphosa & Co. (Lonmin – the mining company) treated the workers as tools that could easily be discarded whenever they had no use for them. They knew that they could hire other desperate people and ignored the fact that these workers were husbands, fathers and uncles. They were the breadwinners of their families. When Ramaphosa & Co. robbed them of their lives they took that away from their families and left a scar on the community.

On 16 August 2012 the workers were caged like animals and gunned down, run over by Police vehicles and some were hunted down and murdered in cold blood when the police turned them over to make sure that they were dead. These executions were carried out by the SAPS that was supposed to protect the people not murder them. They were no different to the National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM) leaders who turned violent and started shooting NUM members who were also protesting for a fair wage.

It’s no secret that the World Bank offered Lonmin a $150 million loan to improve the workers housing conditions, these are the funds Ramaphosa claims he doesn’t know about and have disappeared. Lonmin ignored the living conditions of the workers for a very long time. I was born and raised in Marikana, I can tell you that Nkaneng has been an unpleasant settlement for more than ten years. These are the workers of a company that made roughly R60+ million a day. 

Workers were then given a raise but at a price – the price was retrenching existing workers. This also happened when Sibanye Stillwater took over. 5,000 jobs were lost last year in September and 1,000+ were lost this year Jin anuary. The NUM and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) turned a blind eye. This is the same NUM whose leaders turned violent on the protesting NUM members.

Lonmin was a corporation thrived on cheap labour and by discarding the living conditions of the workers. Eight years has passed since Ramaphosa gave the okay to commit the nation’s first public execution. He will pay.

Rest in peace fallen heroes for we will continue your struggle.