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SAFTU statement on 7th anniversary of Marikana Massacre

“The state is nothing more than the form of organisation which the bourgeois necessarily adopt both for internal and external purposes, for the mutual guarantee of their property and interest.” (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels – The German Ideology ) 

Undoubtedly the Marikana massacre will go down as the lowest point of our democracy. This is the day when the ANC government had a chance to facilitate a dialogue between workers who were on strike in a desperate attempt to break the backbone of the low wage economy and the colonial/apartheid wage structure, but instead it chose to take the side of the ruling class which as hell-bent on defending the apartheid-era wage structure.

It is true that the police were commanded to pull the trigger and killed 34 mineworkers. This was a premeditated murder in that prior to what they called D-Day the police commanders ordered thousands of rounds of live ammunition and mortuary vans. They trapped and killed 18 mine workers in 4 minutes. They proceeded to chase others who had run into a small mountain nearby and mercilessly killed them while they had they hands up pleading that their lives be spared. Others were shot behind while hiding in the stones. 18 more mine workers were brutally killed in this cowardly and cruel fashion.

A handful of the police and mineworkers are currently being persecuted for these killings at Marikana. But the political leadership who clearly responded to the email and pressure from Lonmin management and one Director to break up the strike in order to please mine bosses and not workers and their families, are going about their lives while the foot soldiers who pulled the triggers are being persecuted.

It is the ANC government that killed mineworkers! It is the ANC that whose hands are dripping with the blood of the Marikana workers. It is the ANC as a whole not one faction that long decided that the class, they would serve is not that of mine workers but of the mine owners and other property and land thieves.

SAFTU believes that the following members of the ruling elite must be charged for ordering the premeditated murder of the mine workers!

  1. Cyril Ramaphosa who was a director of Lonmin, demanded that “Concomitant action” must be taken against the Marikana mine workers. He also referred to them as “plainly dastardly criminals”. Cyril Ramaphosa was the former leader and hero of the very mine workers who had played an unparalleled role to raise their levels of conscious and to stand up against all forms of injustices including their oppression and brutal exploitation. He had a chance to intervene by getting parties on the table to negotiate a settlement to the strike. Now as a new recruit of the ruling class he decided to use his influence in the ANC to get the state to act so criminally against mine workers. President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Tanzania today to amongst others visit the families of the citizens who died when a tanker carrying petrol exploited near Morogoro. The widows and families of mine workers will see their butcher on their  television screens in Tanzania and not anywhere close to the crime scene in Marikana.
  2. The then Minister of Minerals, Suzan Shabangu, who is also a former unionist clearly collaborated with Ramaphosa in ensuring that the state killed mine workers. She too didn’t use her experience to facilitate a peaceful settlement but instead piled pressure on the Minister of police to act in support of the mine bosses.
  3. The Minister of Police at the time, Nathi Mthethwa, who cannot for a minute claim he did not know that the police had decided that 16 August 2019 was the “D–Day”. He should have been aware that the police were planning to kill mine workers en masse and to revenge the killing of their colleagues that were killed earlier. Nathi Mthethwa was leading a state that should have used its intelligence structures to find out who had killed 10 mine workers prior to the 16 August 2012.
  4. The President at the time, Jacob Zuma, who also cannot make a claim that he did not know what his Ministers were doing to aid the capitalist class refusing to pay workers a decent wage is as guilty as Cyril Ramaphosa. He has dogged taking political responsibility over the massacre.

SAFTU demands that all of these individuals be put on trial as the people who planned and caused the police to pull the trigger that killed 34 mine workers.

The Marikana massacre proved the correctness of the theory of Marx and Lenin that the state is the organising committee of the ruling class and an instrument of class rule.  The ANC not only decided to serve the ruling class through the adoption of pro  big business GEAR and privatisation but decided to protect and preserve what the white monopoly capital looted during the apartheid and colonial era. On the 16 August 2012, the ANC decided which class they will side with and serve when disputes arise about the surplus value.

The Marikana martyrs’ spirit lives on! Seven years after their brutal killing by the ANC government their demand for a R12 500 minimum wage continues to inspire millions of workers to continue the struggle for a living wage.

There have been setbacks though, such as the entrenchment of the apartheid wage structure in the form of the new National Minimum Wage, the job loss blood bath and the increasing levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities which have further tilted the balance in favour of the capitalist class.

SAFTU is meeting on 21–23 August to make a full assessment of the current crisis. We hope that a new programme of action to continue defending the legacy of the Marikana massacre heroes will emerge. This programme will hopefully unite the working class in a new battle for social justice.