South Africa: Will There Ever Be Accountability for the Marikana Massacre?

Photo: SAPA
Police on the scene at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana in' the North West where ongoing violence resulted in the shooting of a number of people on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

Criminal prosecution and civil compensation are legal remedies, and an official apology to families and communities is a matter of decency.

On August 16, 2012, 34 mineworkers were shot while protesting to demand a living wage and better working conditions in Marikana. Forty-four people were killed, 78 wounded, and 250 arrested in a week of violence.

Images of the police firing on protesting mineworkers in Marikana in 2012 are reminiscent of images of police firing on protesters in Sharpeville in 1960 and Soweto in 1976. At least half of the mineworkers who died in Marikana were between the ages of 20 and 30. The protesters were taking action against a system that sought to steal their futures in the same way it had stolen their fathers' futures. In each case, young people came together to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo and were met with intentional police brutality.

In Marikana,...

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