Socialist Worker

South African government tries to turn Marikana massacre inquiry into a whitewash

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2403

South African president Jacob Zuma

South African president Jacob Zuma (Pic: World Economic Forum)


Two outrageous decisions threaten to make the official inquiry into the 2012 Marikana massacre into a whitewash.

The Commission was set up under Judge Ian Farlam, “to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine.”

But now it has been announced that it will stop taking evidence on 31 July no matter what has—or more particularly has not—been heard.

And president Jacob Zuma decreed a few days before the election that the original terms of reference for the inquiry would be altered and that it would no longer consider the involvement of government ministers in the events.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa, mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu, or any other government minister due to come before the commission, will not now be questioned.

Any investigation into the role of Jacob Zuma and his cabinet has been wrenched away from the investigation—by a proclamation from Jacob Zuma. 

It was a hallmark of apartheid injustice that murders and massacres were systematically covered up, and the part played by politicians in directing lethal operations was hidden from view. This is now being repeated over Marikana.  

Rehad Desai, who has campaigned for justice over Marikana, told Socialist Worker, “After the massacre, president Zuma pretended that ministers would be called to account to placate public outrage. Now he is ensuring that no judicial finger will ever be pointed at culpable government ministers, and this amounts to a cover-up.

“But we are not going away. People in Britain have been fighting for decades to win justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday and Hillsborough. If necessary, we will do the same here.”

Miners Shot Down (minersshotdown.co.za) will be shown at Marxism 2014 in London, where Charlie Kimber and filmmaker Rehad Desai will both be speaking

Mine bosses out to break strike

Mining bosses hope to crank up the pressure on striking platinum miners now the election has passed.  Some 80,000 miners have been out for four months demanding a living wage. 

Lonmin, whose mines witnessed the Marikana massacre, said last week it was “gearing up for a serious back to work offensive in anticipation of a mass return to work on 14 May”. Such statements have been made before, and may be baseless. 

But if they attempt such a provocation it will be in concert with the ANC, the government and the police.

They will also work with the NUM union that has been displaced by the more radical Amcu in the platinum mines. 


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