The South African Communist Party (SACP) on Friday commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Marikana tragedy by calling on workers and trade unions to unite in the struggle against economic exploitation and in the struggle for social emancipation.
Thirty-four mineworkers were shot by the South African police on August 16, 2012, with a further 78 wounded and 275 arrested during a protracted strike at platinum miner Lonmin, after wage negotiations broke down. Ten people, including six mineworkers, two Lonmin security officers and two policemen, were killed in the days leading up to the August 16 massacre.
“The situation had some of its immediate causes in the fact that capitalist platinum mining bosses reneged on collective bargaining agreements at the individual company level,” said the SACP.
The SACP explained that deepening outsourcing, increased retrenchments, and job and income insecurity were adversely affecting workers.
“The underpinning scandal, perpetuated to this day by the capitalist bosses, was and remains the enormous inequality and remuneration disparities between the workers at the coalface and top executives who work in air conditioned offices far away from the gruelling mining labour process and exposure to health and safety hazards,” the party said.
The SACP said it stood in solidarity with the families of the workers who were killed in 2012, and also pledged support to workers who were victimised, attacked and displaced, as well as to all the women workers who were sexually abused and raped.
The SACP called on the country’s criminal justice system to ensure that perpetrators of the Marikana events were prosecuted, and said it should not be possible that in a democratic South Africa people were killed and no one was held to account.
“The SACP further calls on the recommendations of the Farlam Commission to be fully implemented. The delayed compensation should be paid out as soon as possible,” the party said.