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A.1.a.iii. Strike by Marikana Platinum Miners, August 2012

Volume Two -> A. Campaigns for Social and Economic Justice -> A.1. Campaigns by Workers -> A.1.a. Selected Strikes -> A.1.a.iii. Strike by Marikana Platinum Miners, August 2012

The political significance of the Marikana strike was noted above. The miners’ demonstrations from August 10 to August 16 led to increasing tension – on August 11 National Union of Mineworkers officials fired on the crowd, on August 12 the strikers were attacked by police with rubber bullets and on August 13 police fired on demonstrators who refused to hand over their own weapons, a clash that led to two deaths on each side. The miners tried to avoid violence spreading into the local community and the looting of shops by individuals taking advantage of the situation (as had happened in an earlier strike): when challenged by NUM officials on August 11 they moved to high ground some distance from their homes.

The police shooting of 34 miners occurred on August 16. The day after the shooting, wives of the miners demonstrated, claiming that the police shot first and demanding those responsible should be identified and punished.

Civil society groups, for example Citizens 4 Marikana, have rallied to demand the police to be held to account, support the bereaved families and provide legal representation. An official enquiry, which did not include any civil society representatives, was launched in October 2012. The report, finally published in June 2015, absolved senior political figures, but did question the role of the national police chief, criticize police tactics and recommend that police involved in the shootings be investigated for criminal liability. The Marikana strike, and the government’s response, has been widely covered by the press and other media, but has not yet resulted in a large literature. But some references are listed below.

Alexander, Peter ; Sinwell, Luke ; Lekgowa, Thapelo ; Mmope, Botsang ; Xezwi, Bongani, Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer, Johannesburg, Jacana Media, 2013, pp. 144

Interviews with strikers who took part in protests and written from their viewpoint.

Chinguno, Crispen, Marikana and the Post-Apartheid Workplace Order, Working Paper 1, Braamfontein, Society, Work and Development Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, 2013, pp. 40

See also: Chinguno, Crispen , Marikana Massacre and Strike Violence Post-Apartheid Global Labour Journal, 2013, pp. 160-166

Jika, Thanduxolo ; Mosamo, Sebabatso ; Sadiki, Leon ; Saba, Athandiwe ; Ledwaba, Lucas ; Dlangamandla, Felix, We Are Going to Kill Each Other Today: The Marikana Story, Cape Town, Cape Town, Tafelberg, 2013, pp. 256

Account by City Press reporters and photographers, supplemented by edited evidence from official Enquiry, and including analyses of labour migration.

Pillay, Pearl, The Marikana Massacre: ‘the sub-altern cannot speak', The Broken Rifle, issue 98 (December), 2013

Brief article which details evolution of strike from 10-16 August.

Pope-Weidemann, Marianna, We Cry Together, Red Pepper, 2018, pp. 31-32

Article on grass roots women's organisation Sikhale Sonke demanding prosecutions and compensation for 2012 shooting of workers during the strike. The women had campaigned  for five years against Lonmin and the government, as well as confronting deep seated discrimination against women in their society. War on Want has backed the women as part of a renewed campaign in the UK to offer solidarity. 

Sikhale  Sonke is also the subject of a documentary film 'Strike a Rock', from the 2017 Human Rights Watch Film Festival, that focuses on the struggle and friendship two women following the 2012 Marikana Massacre where 37 striking miners were killed by police.

Twala, Chitja, The Marikana Massacre: A Historical overview of the Labour Unrest in the Mining Sector in South Africa, Southern African Peace and Security Studies, Vol. 1, issue 2, 2013, pp. 61-67