Thursday, August 23, 2012

Johannesburg meeting on Marikana massacre

From Martin Legassick in SA

Last night there was a meeting protesting the Marikana massacre in Johannesburg. It was attended by Marikana miners and people from the Marikana shack settlement next to the mine. Also there were people from the Fokeng community, where there is another platinum mine, and a strike has just started. There were numerous organizations represented, and a large number of speakers. The room was crowded: hundreds present. The ad hoc body that called the meeting is Justice for the Marikana strikers. It became apparent (a) that there are a number of miners still missing, whose bodies have not been found, who are not in hospitals, etc (b) that therefore it is almost certain that the death-toll is more than 34 (even on that Thursday, let alone the 10 killed in the previous week) (c) that the TV coverage of the police shooting people accounts for only 9 or 10 bodies.

A University of Johannesburg professor has researched the site, together with the workers, and they discovered a hill behind the hill where the miners were gathered where there are police yellow paint marks A to J indicating where other bodies were located. This is named Horror Mountain, and is in the opposite direction from where the first people were shot. It indicates miners trying to escape from police fire, and then being killed wantonly. The police claim that the miners they shot were about to attack them (they were actually escaping through a narrow gap in razor wire). But those killed on the Horror Mountain were escaping! (This is covered in Socialist Worker, see URL The general secretary of the AMCU was there, admitted they did not call the strike and told how they pleaded with workers to leave the hill they were camped on shortly before the shooting, and then reluctantly left. They were warmly received by the miners present.

Then someone from the NUM was called to speak but was shouted down by the miners, and sat down with fear on his face. When he was escorted from the meeting there was applause. There were calls for a national/international day of action on 29th August. There were predictions and calls for a general strike in the platinum industry. We shall see what happens.

Martin Legassick is member of the Democratic Left Front

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