News / Africa

South African Miners Still Determined Following Shootout

ANC's Supremacy Questioned after Mine Shootingi
X
August 20, 2012 12:04 AM
South Africa is facing a deep identity crisis after the police shooting of striking miners last Thursday. Twenty years after the end of white minority rule, few could imagine such a thing could happen under a government led by the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela's liberation party. For the miners, trust is gone. Emilie IOB reports for VOA from the Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa.

ANC's Supremacy Questioned after Mine Shooting

RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Two days after the shootout at a mine in South Africa where 34 striking miners died, the atmosphere is still very heavy on the site, as the miners remain undeterred in their strike for a better salary.  In addition to the 34 miners killed, two policemen and two mine security officers were among 10 people killed in the days leading up to Thursday's shootings.

They face the police force, unscarred and undeterred. Two days after the worst shootout of the post-apartheid era, the women of the miners want to show that their determination is intact. In front of the Lonmin mine, 100 kilometers east of Pretoria, they repeat their same demand : a threefold pay raise for their husbands, from their current $490 per month. 

But everywhere, bewilderment prevails, as one of the women, Princess Maxuthu, said, "We are angry. I have a big problem with the government. We didn't expect that thing with the police. The police is doing a bad thing. [They] killed our families, our friends."

Earlier in the day, some women went to the mine's hospital, a few hundred meters away.  In the outside parking lot, families can come and learn the fate of their relatives: in jail, injured, or dead. 

The police presence is reduced from Friday.  Every day the miners gather on an open space behind the informal settlement where they live, a stone's throw from the Lonmin mine and from the little hill where the shootout happened. On Saturday, South African politician Julius Malema, a former official of the ruling ANC (African National Congress) party, famous for his criticism of the historic party, is coming to talk to them. 

The welcome is warm. Malema, the former ANC Youth League leader who recently got fired from the party, is going to say what the 2 000 striking miners want to hear.  "There is something with [South African] president [Jacob] Zuma. He must step down. He never cared about you, no money, no shoes. President Zuma presided over the massacre of our people. President Zuma's government has murdered our people," he said. 

And it seems the politician has convinced his audience, as Bisusua, one of the people in the crowd explained. "I think Malema is Number One, he is the one supporting us. Zuma, he didn't come," he said. 

The shooting tragedy is another strong blow to the reputation of Nelson Mandela's famous party, already weakened by internal divisions.

At the Lonmin mine itself, the situation is back to quiet. At dusk, the police went to take out the barbed wire around the hill where the drama happened.

South Africa police officials say their officers fired at the miners on Thursday in self defense. 

  • An unidentified woman chants as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • Members of a South African police crime unit investigate the scene of the shooting of miners at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • An unidentified woman cries as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • A policeman fires at protesting miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen fire at striking miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • A miner runs as police shoot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen in teargas and dust open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • Police open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • A paramedic (front L) receives help from a policewomen as he tends to the injured after protesting miners were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid