Socialist Worker

The truth behind the Marikana massacre

34 South African miners shot down by police in cold blood

Published Tue 21 Aug 2012
Issue No. 2317

The world was shocked by TV images last week of striking South African miners being mowed down by police gunfire.

But the truth behind the massacre is even more shocking.

The slaughter was not a tragic error of judgement. It was deliberate. The state forces were not protecting themselves from armed workers. They were executing a premeditated plan.

And the striking miners were not charging at the police when they were shot down. They had already been surrounded and were running away from police firing behind them.

This is the picture that emerges from eyewitness testimony and examinations of the site by a team of Johannesburg-based researchers.

One of the strike leaders said, “We were being shot at as if we were criminals. But we never stole from anyone. All we wanted was our right to a better life and better working conditions.”

Another strike leader describes a meeting with police before the massacre took place. “In our discussions they said they were sent by the government and had been given full rights to kill.”

Peter Alexander and the rest of the research team have written exclusively for Socialist Worker. The evidence they present has not yet appeared in the mainstream media.

Peter said the team’s investigation shows “that strikers were surrounded by heavily armed police and soldiers, and were killed while fleeing from gunfire”.

» How police planned and carried out a massacre

» Marikana: Workers fighting back deserve our support

» South Africa's dashed hopes of liberation

» The brutal history of South Africa's platinum industry

Article information

Tue 21 Aug 2012, 18:12 BST
Issue No. 2317
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