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Institutional hearing: business and labour. Mining industry. Report, Volume 4, Chapter 2, pp. Google Scholar. Callinicos, L. Terblanche, S. Occupational lung disease in the South African mining industry: research and policy implementation. Norgate, T, Haque, N. Using life cycle assessment to evaluate some environmental impacts of gold production. J Clean Prod ; 29— 53 — The environmental costs of platinum—PGM mining and sustainability: is the glass half-full or half-empty? Miner Eng ; — Durand, JF. J Afr Earth Sci ; 24 — Google Scholar Crossref.

Ehrlich, R. A century of miners compensation in South Africa.

Am J Ind Med ; — Ladou, J. For starters, A View from the Mountain reveals the social conditions under which South African platinum miners, especially the skilled RDOs, make their living. Conflict between rank and file workers, who felt the union disregarded their complaints, and NUM leadership had been brewing since May , when the NUM dismissed a popular local leader. Things came to a head in early August , when miners from several platinum mines in the Marikana district decided to present a demand for increased wages directly to Lonmin management, bypassing the union they felt no longer spoke for them.

When Lonmin refused their entreaties and referred them back to the NUM, the stage was set for tragedy. There are no parties fighting, here only workers, workers are fighting for their rights and they want their money and they are being killed by NUM and [NUM President] Zokwana and the mine and the government that we vote for every day.

Perhaps the most shocking thing that emerges from these interviews is not just the police killings of August 16, but the violence wielded against strikers by the union leadership preceding the massacre. In the interim, a brief and unprovoked clash with police took the lives of 10 striking miners. In the first phase, a group of several thousand miners tried to flee the refuge of Wonderkop Koppie towards their shantytown residences as armed police and soldiers encircled strikers with razor wire, armored vehicles, and helicopters, and then opened fire without any warning, using live ammunition rather than the riot dispersal weaponry at their disposal.

Up to eight deaths ensued from this initial fusillade, most of them inflicted from behind. In the second phase, a smaller group of panicked workers sought an alternate escape route through a gap in the razor wire blockade established by police. This is the source of media images of armed workers apparently rushing police lines.

We went through the hole [in the fence], and that is why we were shot.

Marikana, Part II: Looking For Answers to a South African Massacre - Los Angeles Review of Books

Certainly some of these facts can be gleaned from scattered existing news reports, particularly those that appeared in an independent paper called the Daily Maverick and the left journal, Amandla! But until now, no one has constructed as clear and coherent account, step-by-step, of what happened that day on the mountain.

That said, it remains difficult to know if what Alexander and his fellow researchers have gleaned from the compelling testimony of the Lonmin workers will remain the definitive story of events. But like any partial account, this one too may contain distortions, half-truths, and misapprehensions, especially given the chaos, trauma, and terror that attended the events in question.

South Africa is a democratic country but we as mineworkers are excluded from this democracy. Many questions about the massacre remain unanswered. We still have no grasp of the motivations of the police. Were they acting at the behest of the mining corporation, as some workers suggested? However, Chris Molebatsi, who was a part of the organising committee for the strike, said: "The campaign will go on.

This campaign is aimed at helping workers. People died here at Marikana. Something needs to be done. This is a campaign to ensure justice for the people of Marikana.

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We want the culprits to be brought to book, and it is crucial that justice is seen to be done here. It is our duty and the duty of this country to ensure justice is served, so that we can make sure this country is a democracy and to stop South Africa from going down the drain. During the past week people were taken from their homes and arrested by police, and people have been shot at. We need to ensure the safety of these people, and need to help stop police action against the people of Marikana.

The work is enormous. Some people still need medical attention, and we also need to look at the living conditions of workers and the community at large. Then there is the problem of the unemployment of women and the high rate of illiteracy here. We need to help realise programmes to ensure people can get an income, that they can enjoy a reasonable standard of living. The following day, however, confirmations of the agreement came from Lonmin and unions.

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration commissioner Afzul Soobedaar said: "We have reached an agreement that we have worked tirelessly for" and that the negotiations were an arduous process but congratulated all parties for being committed to reach a solution. National Union of Mineworker's negotiator Eric Gcilitshana said that there would now be stability at Lonmin with the return to work; while President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Joseph Mathunjwa issued a statement that read: "This could have been done without losing lives.

The final resolution entailed the miner working at the lowest depths earning between R9, from the previous R8,, a winch operator would now earn R9, up from R8,, a rock drill operator would earn R11, from R9, and a production team leader would earn R13, from R11, At the same time, it was reported that an unnamed number of strikers left the unions that had previously represented them. The arrested miners were initially charged with "public violence. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said that the decision "induced a sense of shock, panic and confusion.

The basis for prosecutions was said to be the doctrine of "common purpose. The Constitutional Court endorsed the requirements for common purpose set out in the case of S v Mgedezi , decided under apartheid in The legal representatives for the arrested miners said their continued incarceration was "unlawful" as a special judicial inquiry that had been formed by Zuma was conducting its investigation. The law firm Maluleke, Msimang and Associates wrote an open letter to Zuma, on 30 August, saying that it would file an urgent petition with the High Court for the release of those imprisoned if he does not order their immediate release.

On 2 September, the National Prosecuting Authority announced that they would drop the murder charges against the miners. At the same time, the first batch of the arrested miners were released. President Jacob Zuma commissioned an inquiry into the shooting to be headed by former Supreme Court of Appeals Judge Ian Farlam and tasked to "investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana.

The commission began its work on 1 October. Amongst the first tasks was a hearing from two representatives of the miners who asked for a two-week postponement, which was rejected by Farlam.

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He also took a personal tour of the site of the protests. On the first day, he toured the site of the shootings hearing from the forensic expert who had examined the site and sat at the koppie hill where the miners hid from police. On the second day, he went to see the miners' dormitories—including where families can stay and an informal settlement. Al Jazeera's Tania Page said that the site had been cleaned since the incident and that the commission's challenge would be "to see the truth and find an objective balance when all the parties involved have had time to cover their tracks.

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South African judges holding an inquiry into the events were shown video and photographs of miners who lay dead with handcuffs on as well as some photographs which a lawyer for the miners claimed to show that weapons, such as a machete, were planted by police next to the dead miners after they had been shot.

Cyril Ramaphosa conceded under cross examination of the fact that deal of demand for higher wages must had been taken care under the contingency plan. During a trip to the European Union headquarters in Belgium on 18 September, President Zuma tried to reassure investors that though "we regarded the incident of Marikana as an unfortunate one. Nobody expected such an event. European Council President Herman van Rompuy said: "The events at the Marikana mine were a tragedy and I welcome the judicial commission of inquiry set up by President Zuma ," while he noted South Africa's growing influence.

But we are … deeply troubled by the fact of all these dead victims. The strikes were later said to be the result of inequality within South African society. National police commissioner Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega , a former social worker who was appointed on 13 June, stated police had acted in self-defense, saying, "This is no time for blaming, this is no time for finger-pointing. It is a time for us to mourn.


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The Ministry of Safety and Security issued a statement that read while protesting is legal, "these rights do not imply that people should be barbaric, intimidating and hold illegal gatherings. It is still too early in the investigation to establish the real facts around this tragedy. On 21 August, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula became the first South African government official to apologise for the shooting and asked for forgiveness from angry miners who held up plastic packets of bullet casings to her.

We agree that it was not something to our liking and, as a representative of the government, I apologise I am begging, I beg and I apologise, may you find forgiveness in your hearts. The opposition Democratic Alliance criticised the police action.