Nine years on, yet no progress in case against those implicated in Marikana massacre: NGO

16 August 2021 - 08:00 By nomahlubi sonjica
The Bench Marks Foundation says little has been done to bring justice to the families of the slain Marikana miners.
The Bench Marks Foundation says little has been done to bring justice to the families of the slain Marikana miners.
Image: Daniel Born

Monitoring NGO Bench Marks Foundation says little progress has been made in bringing those implicated in the killing of 34 miners in Marikana nine years ago to book.

Monday marks nine years since the massacre happened.

Nine police officers are still facing charges related to the shooting.

“Progress in these cases has simply ground to a halt. Even if they are eventually finalised, accountability for this massacre needs to stretch much higher up the level of command,” said the foundation’s executive director, John Capel.

The foundation appealed to Sibanye-Stillwater to expand the memorial park it is establishing at Marikana. It wants counselling services for widows and orphans to be extended to the miners who were injured, some of them severely, and those who were traumatised by the massacre. 

“This will assist in bringing healing, that is long overdue, to the community,” Capel said.

He said the foundation welcomed the commitments made by Sibanye-Stillwater to help communities affected by the Marikana massacre — but warned that it would keep a close watch to ensure the company made measurable and sustainable progress.

Capel said the range of activities promised by Sibanye-Stillwater was encouraging.

Families of mineworkers killed at Lonmin's Marikana mine in Rustenburg on August 16 2012 have been attending court proceedings against the six police officers charged with their murders.
ENEMIES Families of mineworkers killed at Lonmin's Marikana mine in Rustenburg on August 16 2012 have been attending court proceedings against the six police officers charged with their murders.
Image: Reuters

These included mega agricultural projects, piped water, and tarred roads in nearby Nkaneng township, where many of Marikana’s miners live.

“We are encouraged by the way Sibanye’s CEO, Neal Froneman, speaks about social justice and compacts. However, the real test comes in what happens on the ground. Does this translate into communities that are substantially better off?” Capel asked.

“The company needs to report how many roads have been tarred, and exactly what progress has been made with the mega agricultural project, for instance.

“It may plant food gardens in Marikana — but what use will these be if they are piles of dust in a year’s time? Projects such as these must be made sustainable through interaction with and training of communities,” Capel said.

The foundation also welcomed the houses built for widows of the deceased miners.

It noted that neither Lonmin nor Sibanye-Stillwater had to date paid out any compensation to the widows and orphans of the deceased miners.

“Both the state and Sibanye-Stillwater have a moral responsibility to compensate victims. Given that the state’s compensation process has been pitifully slow, it is up to Sibanye-Stillwater to step up to the plate and plough some of the profits made in a very good trading year into compensation funds,” Capel said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it was “unfortunate” that the Marikana massacre had been used by disgruntled people who wanted to launch their political relevancy at the expense of those who were brutally killed and injured in the incident.

The union said it was in the process of mobilising resources to push for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Farlam commission that all the victims should be equally compensated.

“It should also be remembered that days before the brutal shootings by the police, 10 people were killed and that included mineworkers, security officers and members of the police. So our call has always been that those victims must also be remembered. As a responsible trade union, we are appealing for people to refrain from politicising this sensitive event. We should all strive to assist all the victims to find an amicable closure,” the union said.

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