17 August 2015
Yesterday commemorates the third anniversary of the massacre at the Marikana platinum mine near Rustenburg. On the 16th August 2012, thirty-four striking miners were shot and killed by police. Some miners were shot at point-blank range, despite putting their hands up in surrender. During the days preceding and following the massacre, another ten people were killed in clashes between unions, police, mine management and striking workers. This massacre is frighteningly reminiscent of Apartheid police brutality.
As members of Habonim Dror who strive to contribute meaningfully to the upliftment of South African society, we remember the deaths of these miners mournfully.
Habonim Dror stands against the structural inequality of the mining industry. Habonim Dror stands against poverty. We support the rights of workers to better wages and living conditions, and their right to protest. We stand against the excessive response of police in this matter and the increasing trend of police brutality against protesting workers. We stand for peaceful protest, negotiation and reconciliation wherever possible.
We call for answers for the families of the miners who were killed. Since the release of President Zuma's report on the massacre, no police members have been investigated or charged for involvement in the massacre of the thirty-four. Lonmin Mine has not followed through on their promise to build better housing for its employees. We urge government and business to take more proactive steps in ensuring the improved living conditions and wages for the workers who drive South Africa’s most profitable and important industry.
We call for justice and peace. We hope that this country will never again have to endure such a painful tragedy such as this.