LONDON, UK, Westpapuanews.Org — South African activists living in England gathered in front of the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square, London, on Wednesday (16/8).
They celebrated the 11th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre in South Africa on 16 August 2012, when platinum miners went on strike demanding a raise from their employers.
Activists were seen carrying banners and posters containing photographs of workers who were victims of police crimes and the mining oligarchy in Marikana 11 years ago or 21 years after the apartheid politics which legitimized the domination of the white minority over the black majority was officially abolished in South Africa on February 21, 1991.
Papuan activist Serogo Tabuni from Papua Militant International said that his party on behalf of the Papuan people also expressed solidarity with South African activists demanding justice for the victims and their families left behind.
To Westpapuanews.Org, Serogo explained about the Marikana massacre which killed 34 workers at the hands of the South African Police.
“South African police shot dead 34 platinum miners during a strike to get a living wage from their employer, Lonmin, who is a descendant of the well-known British company Lonrho,” said Serogo.
He further explained, “This British company was founded by Cecil Rhodes, someone who was very brutal during the colonial occupation of white settlers in South Africa.”
South African activists say mining companies in Marikana have a worse reputation due to the treatment of workers and indigenous people living on the land because companies use government officials, criminal militias and racist police to defend multinational criminal companies for their own benefit.
According to Serogo, the maximum profits obtained by bad corporations in Marikana, South Africa and in Latin American, Middle Eastern, Asian and Oceania countries are similar to those obtained by PT Freeport in West Papua.
“The Grasberg Mine in West Papua which was occupied by the fascist colonial state of Indonesia has become a source of incalculable wealth for its owners, but local people say this has brought poverty and oppression to the people of West Papua,” said Serogo.
In the case of the Marikana massacre, a South African activist said, no police officer has ever been convicted.
“Even though the evidence obtained by Farlam’s commission shows that the police planned the massacre. “This demonstrates a clear chain of command from the ANC government, to the police commissioners, to the operational commanders,” said the South African activist who is now based in the UK.
“However”, he continued, “Farlam is weak and the ANC is acquitted. No minister or policeman has ever been punished for the killings.”
In a statement released by the Marikana Solidarity Collective group, it was stated that President Ramaphosa never went to Marikana to apologize.
“Current South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is on the board of Lonmin as a leading figure of the ANC. He pressured the government to order the police to crack down on the workers, but he has never visited Marikana or seen the workers’ widows to apologize. They are in poverty, he is a billionaire,” wrote Marikana Solidarity Collective in a pamphlet on Facebook.
It said the London-based financiers had avoided all responsibility.
“Lonmin is 25% owned by Swiss/British company Glencore, and the other 26% of shareholders are from England. It is strongly supported by London-based investment banks,” wrote the Pamphlet.
According to the Marikana Solidarity Collective, none of these investors have ever been held accountable. Since the company was sold to Sibanye-Stillwater in 2019, things have gotten worse.
The Justice for Marikana action was organized by Marikana Solidarity Collective, sponsored by London Mining Network, Pan African Community Community Forum, Women of Color (Global Women’s Strike, on behalf of Global Women’s Strike International), Caribbean Labor Solidarity, British Revolutionary Communist Group (FRFI-RCG ), Papua Militant International, and Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!■
Photos by Yonatan Mosquera and Serogo Tabuni :