#Marikana: Five years later


It has been exactly five years since 34 Lonmin miners were killed following a wage protest.

In days leading up to the 16th, 10 people were killed including 2 police officers that were hacked to death. Since then there have been commissions of inquiries, bereaved widows speaking out in public and multiple calls for justice.

When the Farlam Commission report was finally released, the 600-page report stated that the commission had discovered and recommended the following:

  • Police were ill-equipped to handle the protest that was becoming more and more violent, police were not telling the full story, their plan to contain the protesters failed and they then resorted to firing live ammunition at the miners.
  • The report also absolved senior politicians from being held accountable. Lonmin shareholder at the time, Cyril Ramaphosa and Nathi Mthethwa who was minister of police at the time were not reprimanded for their roles in the tragedy.
  • The commission recommended that an assessment should be done to find if the then National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was fit to hold office.

Excluding the miners that were charged and arrested, no one from Lonmin, police or government was ever charged. The widows received their deceased husbands’ provident funds but slammed the commission since no one was held accountable for the massacre. Living conditions in the mining town of Marikana have not improved but Lonmin has paid for the education of the killed miners’ children.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) established a trust fund after the massacre to address and provide housing, education and skills development for the families of the killed miners. In June 2017 AMCU’s trust fund handed over 34 houses that were built for the widows and their families. This would help the families with security and allow them to focus on other things that need to be attended to such as providing for their families.

ALSO READ: Looking back at Marikana through a series of tweets

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Andile Dlodlo

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