Democracy Now: Striking Miners Face Deadline Days After Mass Slaying


Striking workers at the South African mine where police shot dead 34 people last week face a deadline to return to work today or face the loss of their jobs. The victims were killed more than a week after walking off the job at the Marikana platinum mine, owned by Lonmin, the world’s third largest producer of platinum. Police say they shot after workers armed with machetes ignored calls to disperse, but the workers’ union says the police committed a massacre. In response, South African President Jacob Zuma announced a week of national mourning as well as the formation of a commission of inquiry.

President Jacob Zuma: “I have decided to institute a commission of inquiry. The inquiry will enable us to get to the real cause of the incident and to derive the necessary lessons, too. However, today is not an occasion for blame, finger pointing or recrimination. Today challenges — today challenges us to restore calm and to share the pain of the affected families and communities.”

The shooting marked the worst mass killing in South Africa since the end of apartheid. The head of South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union said it evoked memories of the Sharpville massacre of 1960.

Joseph Mathunjwa: “I thought the history that I read about Sharpville massacre was a history. I never thought that in 2012 we will experience the same massacre under the democratic-elected government by ourselves. This is a shame.”

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~ by wheresthemic on August 20, 2012.

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