The massacre of striking mineworkers in Marikana, South Africa in 2012 by state security forces was the result of the actions of mine unions, the mining corporations and individual police officers, an inquiry has found. The report from the judicial inquiry will do little dampen down anger from the strikers’ families, however, who have waited years for its conclusions. Rather than holding to account the powerful figures ( those leading the opposition unions, the mine, the police and the ANC) the report instead, according to Guardian journalist Jack Shenker, “exonerates almost everybody”.
“A complex web of political power and economic interests binds these interests together and the massacre wrenched many issues to the surface. To explain how so many unarmed people could be gunned down in broad daylight under South Africa’s post-apartheid democracy, the inquiry needed to probe the privilege and marginalisation of the country’s platinum belt – where grinding poverty and fabulous riches exist in symbiosis.
Instead, the Marikana report, while confirming some of the worst excesses and deceptions practised by the police and Lonmin, exonerates almost everybody. Its most strident conclusion is that there is a need for further inquiries, inquiries that – on the evidence of this one – will presumably end up calling for yet more inquiries, a process that will be repeated until everybody has forgotten that a massacre took place at all. Everyone, that is, except the relatives of the slain and those who continue to exist on the edge of survival in order to remove platinum from the ground.”
In the video below Shenker explains the terrible circumstances of the massacre. Jack Shenker is the author of the e-book Marikana: A Report from South Africa, out now.