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Marikana Miners' Strike
August 30, 2012 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Two weeks ago 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa. Now, using laws once used by the apartheid regime to prosecute black activists fighting for democracy, the remaining 270 miners from the protest have been charged with their fellow workers' murders.
posted by dng (33 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a farce.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:02 PM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


How did The Onion manage to hijack the BBC's DNS? Or is this some sort of JavaScript trick?
posted by rh at 2:03 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The shootings will continue until moral improves.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:04 PM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Who would have thought South Africa could fall so far so fast? You've gone from Nelson Mandela to HIV denier Mbeke to the corrupt, court packing, accused rapist Zuma. You've got massive flight of the educated and middle class. Extraordinarily high rates of murders, assaults, rapes, and other crimes compared to most countries ...and now this.

Makes you really appreciate Botswana.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:04 PM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sweet Jesus. That's ridiculous.
posted by brundlefly at 2:04 PM on August 30, 2012


I've been seeing a lot of things that don't make sense lately, but this just goes above and beyond.
posted by ckape at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, by this logic the dead strikers committed suicide. And if it was suicide, how can they try the other strikers for their murder?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:08 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The decision to charge the workers was "madness", said former ruling ANC party youth leader Julius Malema.

Goddamn it, now I have to agree with this fucker?
posted by chundo at 2:14 PM on August 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


Back in the 80's Cyril Ramaphosa led the largest mineworkers strike in SA. 750 000 miners walked off the job, 50 000 were summarily fired and there were 11 deaths during the strike.

These days he's advanced to loftier goals, to the Board of Directors of Lonmin, owners of Marikana.
posted by PenDevil at 2:19 PM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


dances with sneetches
Bullet Holes in the back- worst case of suicide they've seen in a long time.

Also, and there are multiple videos of what happened online. Al Jezera's seems to be the least jumpy, but there are more cuts that make me wonder what was missed. Video here: Looks like an Al Jezera watermark, but hosted on LinkTV.

I really feel like I should have more to say about this, but honestly, my horror and disgust receptors are just overloaded at the moment.
posted by Hactar at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just WHAT? If this doesn't push Nelson off this mortal coil, I don't know what will.
posted by arcticseal at 2:31 PM on August 30, 2012


I was trying to figure out how to make a post about this two weeks ago, but didn't manage to (obviously). Things are a lot worse now.
posted by hoyland at 2:33 PM on August 30, 2012


Yeah, I have been watching this story too and just dont know what to say.
posted by shothotbot at 2:45 PM on August 30, 2012


Christ.
posted by flippant at 2:52 PM on August 30, 2012


Once again, a smack-in-the-face reminder that for all of society's trappings, we're still just animals who will do whatever we have to do to justify doing whatever we damn well feel like.
posted by davejay at 3:09 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


You stay classy, South Africa.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:17 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd have a lot more sympathy for the strikers if they hadn't shot first, but this is still a bit over the top.
posted by mullingitover at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2012


Well this is certainly the most disgusting, despicable, and ridiculous thing I've seen in a long while. Someone get Big Bill and Sid Hatfield on the line, because someone's gonna have to pay for this.
posted by broadway bill at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2012


This "common purpose" doctrine is an oppressor or plutocrat's wet dream. Wonder how much longer before we get something like it here -- and what sort of precipitating incident will be used or staged to lay the groundwork for it?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:28 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of the 34 miners killed at Marikana, no more than a dozen of the dead were captured in news footage shot at the scene. The majority of those who died, according to surviving strikers and researchers, were killed beyond the view of cameras at a nondescript collection of boulders some 300 metres behind Wonderkop...
...It is becoming clear to this reporter that heavily armed police hunted down and killed the miners in cold blood. A minority were killed in the filmed event where police claim they acted in self-defence. The rest was murder on a massive scale.
-- photojournalist Greg Marinovich writes about his investigation into the police murders.
I'd read Lonmin is the re-brand of Lonhro, famously once described by UK Tory PM Edward heath as "the unacceptable face of capitalism".
posted by Abiezer at 4:55 PM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oops, link to the Marinovich piece.
posted by Abiezer at 4:56 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is just depressing.
Especially the fact that like the last time the people who did this will get away with it.

Jesus, Big Mining, you just bury the workers alive and walk quietly away not get your hired troops to shoot them in the middle of the day.
posted by Mezentian at 5:21 PM on August 30, 2012


Why is this surprising? Did somebody seriously think that swapping out the people in charge would end oppression?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2012


.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:08 PM on August 30, 2012


The corporate scramble for Africa: If it continues to be business as usual in Africa, it could set the stage for Resource Conflict 2.0.
posted by homunculus at 7:31 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Total outrage

President Zuma told workers he "felt their pain" and promised that a commission of inquiry would investigate the killings.

"Felt their pain" ?!?! What a slap in the face. I wonder how long it will take to conclude this investigation? Or if there will even be one.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:54 PM on August 30, 2012


This "common purpose" doctrine is an oppressor or plutocrat's wet dream. Wonder how much longer before we get something like it here -- and what sort of precipitating incident will be used or staged to lay the groundwork for it?

If you're American, you already have it. You and your friend rob a bank, your friend gets shot dead by a security guard? You could be charged for his murder. It takes only a creative D.A. and the right kind of judge to extend that to a demonstration gone wrong...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:00 PM on August 30, 2012


Al Jezera's seems to be the least jumpy, but there are more cuts that make me wonder what was missed.

I'd have a lot more sympathy for the strikers if they hadn't shot first, but this is still a bit over the top.

Based on the evidence in this other Al Jazeera video report, it looks like police first started shooting strikers from the side. It's very possible that the sound of those gun shots spooked the police seen in other videos into gunning down the strikers: video
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:02 AM on August 31, 2012


Thanks, homunculus, for the 'corporate scramble in Africa' link. That was a very interesting read.
posted by Anything at 5:37 AM on August 31, 2012


leotrotsky: Who would have thought South Africa could fall so far so fast?
(sadly raises his hand, while covering his eyes in sorrow and disgust)

A nation whose people have been raised in bloodshed, disparity, and hate cannot become a civil nation in one generation.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:53 AM on August 31, 2012


The Guardian piece alludes to what really happened here. The NUM, which is aligned with the ANC, is hemoragging members to the much more militant AMCU and finally decided to draw a line in the sand so they called in their chits with ANC. And this was the end result. Its the last gasp of a dying union.
posted by JPD at 2:00 PM on August 31, 2012


Thanks, homunculus, for the 'corporate scramble in Africa' link. That was a very interesting read.

US in Africa: how to out-invest China?

Consumers allow firms to abuse free market

South Africa: Debt Traps, the Silent Killers of the Vulnerable
posted by infini at 8:44 AM on September 1, 2012


JOHANNESBURG – Prosecutors provisionally dropped murder charges against the 270 jailed miners who had been accused under an obscure legal doctrine of killing 34 of their own colleagues when the police opened fire on them while engaged in a wildcat strike.

...

In a hastily arranged news conference Sunday, officials from the National Prosecuting Authority said that they would await the outcome of further investigations into the shootings, but did not rule out bringing murder charges again.

“Final charges will only be made once all investigations have been completed. The murder charges against the current 270 suspects will be formally withdrawn provisionally in court,” said Nomgcobo Jiba, the acting national director of prosecutions, told reporters.

Prosecutors also said they had not ruled out charges against the police.

“The actions of the police will be sorted out still,” said Johan Smit, a provincial prosecutor in the region where the strike took place told reporters. “We’re not ignoring that.”
posted by rtha at 12:10 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


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