16 August 2023 will mark the 11th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, in which 34 striking mine workers were shot dead in South Africa. You can read more about the events surrounding the strike in this piece by Saleh Mamon, written on the 10th anniversary of the killings.
Every year, a coalition of campaigners and activists in London gather to commemorate those killed by Police and to demand justice for their families. This year, London Mining Network will join this demonstration outside the South African Embassy and host a Book Club event focused on Lonmin, the company behind the massacre (details below). We’re also presenting some of the resources we have developed on Marikana over the years – please feel free to share these widely.
11th Anniversary Activities
16 August Vigil
Join us and Marikana Solidarity Collective UK on 16 August at 16:00 at the South African Embassy in London to remember those who were killed and to demand justice. Here are the demands of the solidarity collective:
• No police ever convicted
Evidence submitted to the subsequent Farlam commission showed that the police planned the massacre. It demonstrated a clear chain of command from the ANC government to police commissioners to operational commanders. But Farlam was weak and exonerated the ANC. No minister or police has ever been convicted for the killings.
• Ramaphosa has never gone to Marikana to apologise
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was on the board of Lonmin as a top ANC man. He pressurised the government to order the police action. He has never visited Marikana or met with the workers’ widows to apologise. They are in poverty, he is a billionaire.
• The London financiers have evaded all responsibility
Lonmin was 25% owned by Swiss/UK company Glencore, with another 26% of shareholders from the UK. It was heavily supported by London based investment banks. None of these financiers has ever been held to account. Since the company was sold to Sibanye-Stillwater in 2019, conditions have got even worse.
Convened by Marikana Solidarity Collective. Sponsored by London Mining Network, Pan Afrikan Society Community Forum, Women of Colour (Global Women’s Strike, on behalf of international Global Women’s Strike), Caribbean Labour Solidarity and Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!
Bring Your Voices and Yellow Flowers!
23 August Book Club
Lonmin was the corporation responsible for urging the South African state to carry out the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers on 16 August 2012. Lonmin refused to negotiate with its workers for a living wage, and instead called on the police who shot them down in cold blood. The company was set up mine platinum during apartheid, as part of the notorious Lonrho multinational empire.
Forslund’s report the Bermuda Connection shows how Lonmin executives hid its profits to avoid paying a decent wage as well as taxes. It is the most detailed and critical economic analysis of the corporation that killed its workers.
In 2019 Sibanye-Stillwater purchased Lonmin for the rock bottom price of R4.3bn (US $290 million). Sibanye originally presented the rationale was to get access to Lonmin’s in-house smelter operation. It is clear that Lonmin’s mining assets were worth much more than either company let on at the time. The real reason that Lonmin’s managers sold is that they wanted to close down the company as the entity responsible for the Marikana Massacre.
Forslund argued against the takeover, and the threatened job cuts. He rightly pointed out that once the associated minerals are taken into account, the company would have increasing revenues and hence would be viable as a stand-alone operation.
In the event, Sibanye has indeed expanded production in the Lonmin mine, especially the K4 shaft that it expects to be taking significant returns from for the next 50 years. Within just 3 years Sibanye has drawn R34.7bn (US $2.3bn) profits from Lonmin production, eight times its purchase price.
This is an opportunity to gain real insight into the nefarious workings of two mining corporations who have colluded in a narrative that puts profits before the lives of African workers and communities around the mine.”
Lonmin Wall of Shame
The Lonmin Wall of Shame is an interactive display that maps out and explains the connections between the powerful and influential people behind the company.
While more than 270 mineworkers were arrested and incarcerated in the aftermath of the Massacre, the Farlam Commission largely exonerated the political and corporate actors located at the centre of the crime scene.
In solidarity with the ongoing struggles for justice and reparations in Marikana, it is critical to re-examine Lonmin’s role in South Africa’s deadliest incident of state violence since the end of apartheid.
Marikana Lesson Materials
In this PowerPoint presentation, you will find resources for a two-lesson sequence about the Marikana Massacre. It is publicly available to all teachers and educators working with children and young people across Key Stages 3-5, and higher or further education settings, on issues relating to colonialism and neo-colonialism, resource extraction, labour rights, and social movements.
Surviving Soceity: Material Crimes
On the 10th anniversary of the massacre of 34 striking mine workers at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, our host for this episode, Daniel Selwyn, investigates the transnational complicity of state and corporate actors, while amplifying voices from the ongoing struggles for justice and reparations. For listeners in London and the UK this episode is particularly close to home, as a massacre at a South African mine unravels into a story about the crimes of global capitalism in which we are all implicated. We’ll learn just how entangled Marikana is with the city of London, the suburbs of Germany, and corporate interests that ensnare the most powerful figure in South African politics.
During the episode, Daniel speaks to community activists from Sinethemba Women’s Organisation, Thumeka Magwanqwana and Gabisile Khanyile, as well as a Marikana mine worker Bongisisa Gwiliza. He also speaks with the attorney for hundreds of incarcerated mineworkers, Andries Nkome, and Maren Grimm, who is part of the international solidarity movement with the communities in Marikana.