South Africa: 10th Anniversary Vigil for the Marikana Massacre

Aug 4, 2022 | EventsNews

10th Anniversary Vigil for the Marikana Massace - Tuesday 16th August, 16:30 at High Commission of South Africa, Trafalgar Square

10 Years Since the Marikana Massacre: Still No Justice, Still No Peace

Join the Marikana Solidarity Collective for a vigil outside the High Commission of South Africa to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the massacre of 34 striking workers by the police at Marikana platinum mine, owned by the British mining company Lonmin.

Bring your voices and yellow flowers as we show our solidarity in the heart of empire with the ongoing demands and movements for justice and reparations in South Africa and across the continent.

Context: London and the Marikana Massacre

On 16th August 2012, the South African police shot dead 34 platinum miners on strike for a living wage from their employer Lonmin, a corporate descendant of the notorious Lonrho, which was founded during Cecil Rhodes’ brutal white settler colonial occupation of southern Africa.

The South African government’s inquiry failed to address the structural issues that led to the strike and Massacre: poor working conditions and low wages, unsafe housing, family separation, and environmental degradation. Although evidence clearly showed that the police acted under pressure and instruction from Lonmin executives and the ANC government, 278 strikers were arrested and incarcerated, and 19 charged with murder, as well as damage to property. Major Lonmin shareholder board member, Cyril Ramaphosa, who urged ministers to take ‘concomitant action’ against the strikers, is now the President of South Africa.

In 2019, Lonmin sold its operations in Marikana mine for $226 million to avoid accountability altogether, to Sibanye-Stillwater, a company with the worst health and safety record in South Africa’s mining sector. Yet profits from Marikana continue to flow to the City of London. The buyout left former Lonmin investors holding 9% of Sibanye-Stillwater shares, including London-based asset management firms such as Investec, Majedie and Ninety One. The takeover went ahead despite objections from the mineworkers’ union AMCU and has led to thousands of job losses. The largest consumer of Marikana’s platinum, giant industrial chemical company BASF, also has up to 35 subsidiaries in the UK and 9% of its shares owned by British and Irish investors.

Rhodes’ colonial legacy continues to haunt the mines and shacks of South Africa. However, the struggle and resistance against ecological devastation, land dispossession, and the super-exploitation of African labour and nature equally continues, from the ongoing mineworkers’ strikes across the platinum belt, to the Amadiba Crisis Committee in Xolobeni and Abahlali baseMjondolo’s struggle for housing and dignity.

— Social movements demand that Sibanye-Stillwater takes on Lonmin’s responsibilities, and:
1. Make an apology to the South African nation and to the victims of the Massacre (including families of the deceased, injured and arrested).
2. Pay reparations to the affected parties, including all dependents of the deceased mineworkers and the injured and arrested workers who survived the Massacre. This must cover all psychological damage and/or emotional trauma for those who witnessed the arrests, injuries and deaths that took place during the massacre.
3. Join calls for the miners who are in prison as a result of the massacre to be released, and for police officers and intellectual authors (i.e. politicians and corporate executives) of the Massacre to be prosecuted.
4. Consult with all affected parties regarding the proposed commemorative monument.
5. Clean up and repair the environmental destruction at Marikana.
6. Ensure that people in the communities around the mine have sufficient water, proper sanitation and electricity.
7. Comply with its legal obligations under the Social and Labour Plan, the development of 2,638 (rental and ownership) accommodation units and 6,000 apartments that are genuinely affordable for mineworkers and the community, within the stipulated time frames.
8. Add its voice to those calling for the review of the Farlam Commission and actually finance the legal process.
9. Set aside money to assist with financing sustainable developmental projects, with independent problem-solving mechanisms and counselling, including with women’s organisations in the community.

— Accessibility Information —

The High Commission of South Africa is opposite Trafalgar Square, and the vigil will be on the pavement outside. Charing Cross (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines) is the closest Tube and mainline rail station, with an entrance/exit onto the Square and around three minutes walk to the High Commission. Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Embankment are also within a few minutes’ walk. Buses to Trafalgar include: 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 24, 29, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176 and 453. You are advised to wear a face covering for the entire journey.

Organisers will provide anti-bacterial hand gel, disposable wipes and masks to anyone who is unable to bring one themselves, although this is recommended.

For more information and support, contact mambushlives@gmail.com
Convened by the Marikana Solidarity Collective, with Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, London Mining Network, Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike.

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