Some 3,000 striking platinum miners at Marikana in South Africa have marched back to the mine today, Wednesday, and are currently confronting management.
The miners marched five kilometres to the Marikana mine, carrying pictures of colleagues killed by the police last month, and carrying clubs.
Local residents came out on the streets and cheered as they passed. The march was shadowed at a distance by police in Casspir armoured cars.
This is the first big demonstration since the police gunned down strikers, killing 34 and wounding another 78.
A recent report in the South African press by Pulitzer prize winning journalist Greg Marinovich has confirmed once more that most miners were shot as they fled or hid—as Socialist Worker was first to report.
One miner, Lungisile Lutshetu, told Marinovich, “We ran back up the koppie [hillock], and there I found a hiding place between large rocks, but then police were already all over the place. Those in front of me were shot at close range and fell over me, and that’s how my life was spared.”
Despite the level of repression they have faced, more miners are on strike now than when the strike began. The company can only claim that 4.5 percent of staff are working.
Casspirs blocked the entrance to the Marikana mine today, but the angry strikers surged past them. Workers’ representatives told the mine management that they should stop attempts to keep the mine’s last operating shaft open.
Jan Thirion, spokesperson for the British-owned mining firm Lomnin, claimed that the miners are threatening to burn down the mine. Outrageously he lectured at them, “Violence doesn’t solve anything. It is not in everyone’s interest.”