A South African Policeman fires at protesting miners

A South African Policeman fires at protesting miners

On 16 August, 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the British-owned Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, South Africa. They were demanding the same pay as workers at a nearby mine when the police opened fire.

Three years on, the families of the killed miners’ are still denied justice. In 2014, President Jacob Zuma, in response to intense public pressure, set up a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to investigate who had given the order to open fire that day. The report was published in March 2015.

While the findings absolved the police, the state and the mining company of any responsibility for the miners’ deaths, they also revealed how officials, in their attempt to uncover the truth, were stymied at every turn by the South African Police Services.

Tom Lebert, Senior International Programme Officer (Resources & Conflict) at War on Want, said:

“What happened at Marikana was a tragedy; the investigation that followed a travesty. It’s a scandal that three years on, no one has been held to account for these crimes and the families’ search for compensation and closure drags on.

“The contempt in which the police held the miners and their families was shockingly clear. The fact that records of a key meeting, at which police tactics were discussed and the decision taken to disperse and arrest the miners, have since disappeared, shows the extent of this shameful cover-up.

“It is time for a second inquiry, independent of the state, that puts the victims and their families first, not the careers and reputations of police officers, politicians and mining companies.”

This week families’ began issuing civil claims against the South African Government.

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