It has been 8 long years since 34 mineworkers were gunned down during a strike by South African police outside Lonmin platinum mines on the outskirts of Marikana (North West province).  The Marikana Massacre is the worst act of police brutality in the democratic history of South Africa.

The strike began on August 9 2012.  Miners were striking for better working conditions and an increase living wage of R12500 per month(approximately 717 USD).  Negotiations were tense and unfruitful. A koppie, near the Nkaneng informal settlement, had become a gathering place for striking miners. On August 16 thousands of miners who had gathered at the koppie were ordered by the police to disperse, when they did not the police opened fire on them with automatic weapons.  Police shot miners head on. Police also shot and killed fleeing miners in the back. Within minutes 34 men were killed, and at least 78 were wounded. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in violent protests at the platinum mine.

She is Africa | Remembering Maikana Massacre : 8 years later | Miners congregate on the koppie on 12 August 2012 | Image: Reuters

In 2015, a commission of inquiry appointed to investigate the incident headed by Judge Farlam.  The Commission recommended that police undergo training to improve public policing, establish and increase Public Order Policing units amid increasing protest action in the country.

In July 2018, the panel of local and international members handed to the minister of police a 400-page report with 138 recommendations.  However years later, parliament is yet to view the report. The government’s lack of interest in giving closure to the affected families is disheartening.  It is also reflective of the government’s general attitude towards vulnerable and impoverished communities in South Africa.

She is Africa | Remembering The Marikana Massacre : 8 years later | The koppie where miners congregated on the tragic day now adorned with crosses to represent the deceased | Image: Reuters

Families lost fathers, brothers, husbands, friends and breadwinners.  Victims and family survivors of the deceased are still waiting for justice to be served.  There have no convictions related to the  Marikana Massacre. No restitutions have been awarded.  No one has been held accountable.

Their lives matter.

Remembering Thobile Mpumza; Thabiso Thelejane; Anele Mdizeni; Makhosandile Mkhonjwa; Julius Mancotywa; Janeveke Liau; Thabiso Mosebetsane; Mafolisi Mabiya; Ntandazo Nokamba; Fezile Saphendu; “Ngxande”; Sitelega Gadlela; Henry Pato; Micheal Ngweyi; Patrick Akhona Jijase; Bonginkosi Yona; Andries Msenyeno; Mzukisi Sompeta; Jackson Lehura; Mphumzeni Ngxande; Mpangeli Lukusa; Mongezeleli Ntenetya; Cebisile Yana; Mguneni Noki; Khawamare Elias Monesa; Bongani Ndongophele; John Ledingoane; Babalo Mtshazi; Thembinkosi Gwelani; Nkosiyabo Xalabile; Bongani Mdze; Teleng Mohai; Modisaotsile Sagalala; Molefi Ntsoele; Hassan Fundi (security guard); Frans Matlhomola Mabelane (security guard); Thapelo Eric Mabebe; Tembelakhe Mati; Hendrick Tsietsi Mohene (policeman); Sello Ronnie Lepaaka (policeman); Sandi Teyise; Mlanduli Hendry Saba; and Pumzile Sokanyile

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