Saturday 16 August will be marked by protests across South Africa and around the world. It is the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre, when 34 striking miners were shot dead by the South African police outside a Lonmin platinum mine in M …

Remember Marikana

 

Saturday 16 August will be marked by protests across South Africa and around the world.

It is the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre, when 34 striking miners were shot dead by the South African police outside a Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana. A further 78 were wounded, and in a bizarre perversion of justice, 270 were arrested and charged with murder under the “common purpose” doctrine – presumably because they “forced” the police to shoot them.

The shooting sent shockwaves throughout South Africa and the world, as it blew apart the post-apartheid consensus and revealed the naked class struggle that still characterises life for most black South Africans.

The shooting lead to a wave of wildcat strike action across the country, which culminated in a five month strike by 70,000 platinum miners in 2014. South African workers are trying to fundamentally negotiate the post-apartheid settlement between labour and capital.

The events have also had a dramatic effect on South Africa’s labour movement.

Workers' leader Mambush attempts to negotiate with the police

Workers’ leader Mambush attempts to negotiate with the police

Miners’ Shot Down is a documentary that examines the events of that day, and shows the collusion between capital – represented by British company Lonmin – the South African government and the police.

Particularly poignant is the interview with former mine workers’ leader Cyril Ramaphosa, today a Lonmin board member who called for a police crack down on striking miners.

There is also shocking footage that shows the police ordering mortuary vans before the shooting happens, which demonstrates that they expected deaths.

The film is showing at festivals and events throughout the world. Watch the trailer below, and try to organise a screening in your own city.

 


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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