Nokuthula Sonile
2 minute read
15 Aug 2013
9:00 am

Time to heal the hurt

Nokuthula Sonile

A year after 34 miners were killed on August 16, 2012 by police at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana it still feels like the tragedy took place a few months ago.

The shocking deaths are still a fresh memory. A week later after 34 miners were killed the deaths rose to 44. A labour dispute turned into a tragedy that left so much heartache and unnecessary loss of life.

The eNCA news channel recently aired a shocking but informative documentary titled ‘The Marikana Massacre: Through the Lens’. Watching miners fall to the ground, wounded and some dead was quite a shock.

After reading many news reports on Marikana during the past year, nothing captures the tragedy like that documentary. One cannot even imagine how traumatising the moment was for those who were in Marikana watching miners die in front of them. All except the members of police who continuously rained bullets on Marikana miners and did not stop as some fell down and died. When the police made the decision to fire live ammunition at the miners, the men who were meant to ensure a peaceful protest became murderers.

The executive director of Bench Marks Foundation, John Capel, was quoted saying they “continue to walk on knife’s edge in Marikana… deaths are still occuring, the mines have still not addressed many of their (corporate social responsibility) promises and we have still not come to the bottom of what actually happened on that fateful day”.

Unfortunately the Farlam Commission of Inquiry tasked with investigating the killings and labour unrest in Marikana is still far from concluding the case. The Farlam Commission has to pick up pace and reveal its findings so that the members of police responsible for the killings can face the full might of the law. That is the only way the families and all people affected by the tragic events will find peace. The only way for South Africa to make peace with what happened that fateful day. The miners who died and those who were hurt must not have suffered in vain. Justice must be done.

As South Africa remembers the Marikana miners who died and those who were hurt, something must be done to stop the murders that are still taking place in Marikana.