The killing of 34 miners at Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg on 16 August 2012 was a “well-planned and orchestrated strategy by the State to defend the profits of mining bosses”.

This is the view of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in its Declaration document, unveiled at its special national congress from 17 to 20 December.

Citing the Marikana massacre as “one of the reasons why we convened this special national congress,” the trade union said that, in the aftermath, “it can’t be ‘business as usual’ in South Africa. How do we explain the killing of striking workers in a democracy?”

The trade union presented video evidence of an “alternative narrative” to the traditional view that the Marikana SAPS “were acting in self-defense”.

Numsa resolves in its Declaration, among others:

  • To call for a full and impartial investigation, unlike the Farlam Commission, that also focuses on the persistent migrant labour system and super-exploitation of labour by capital;
  • To call for the dismissal of the Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega;
  • To demand that mining bosses accept full responsibility for the deaths; and
  • To demand the immediate dropping and withdrawal of police charges against all arrested Marikana workers

The trade union states in its Declaration document that the deaths were not due to “incompetence on the part of the police. It was the conscious, deliberate support, by the Armed Forces of the State, for the interests of shareholders and against the interests of workers”.