Makhanya Siphamandla is a socialist, a revolutionary, a leader, and a miner in South Africa.
Today he works two miles below the surface at the Amplats mine.
In 2014 Makhanya and his two comrades, Bheki and Jacob, led Amplats platinum miners in a walkout against the international mine owners for five long months and won. It was a strike of attrition, hardship and starvation.
Now they face prison. In 2014 all three were arrested on a fabricated charge of attempting to murder a strike breaker.
They were held in prison. This was a crude attempt to decapitate the strike leadership. Eventually, on bail, Makhanya came to the Marxism Festival 2014 in London and called for international solidarity.
In 2015, as an international lawyer, I observed their trial and watched how within minutes the prosecution abandoned their case.
The defendants sued for false imprisonment—and won. Then last week, before any money was paid, the charge of attempted murder was reinstated.
They have no money so they have no lawyer. And on conviction, they face the prospect of a substantial prison sentence, up to life imprisonment.