On Monday, Civil Society of South Africa came out strongly in favour of human rights, transparency and constitutional values. We bring you the statement in full.
Civil Society Statement Regarding the Killings at Marikana
A DEMAND FOR JUSTICE AND THE TRUTH
3 September 2012
We are human rights organisations that seek to protect and promote the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (the Constitution). We stand for the interests of the poor and marginalised and believe our Constitution’s greatest strength is its promise of equality and the advancement of the political, social and economic rights of the poor.
The Marikana massacre is a defining moment in our history and cannot be allowed to pass without establishing the full truth, ensuring justice and providing redress for the victims and their families.
We are outraged by the emerging evidence of targeted killings at Marikana. The Marikana massacre and the subsequent callous responses of both Lonmin and several representatives of the state, violate the very spirit of our Constitution and undermine the rights to life, freedom of expression, association, dignity and equality. A failure to ensure justice for the mineworkers, their wives, partners and families, both at an individual and institutional level, will deal an unprecedented blow to South Africa’s democracy.
As organisations committed to social justice and the protection of human rights we state the following:
Background to the Killings
We note that the Marikana massacre is part of an emerging pattern of violence and unlawful conduct by elements within the police. It is part of a continuum that runs through the killing of Andries Tatane and provides growing evidence of excessive use of force and a lack of training, preparedness and leadership resulting in police violence against the poor.
The massacre is also symptomatic of the growing strain on the industrial relations system and a lack of leadership, which are pushing many strikes into violent confrontations.
The killings occurred in a context of systemic failures, including low wages, appalling and dangerous working conditions and sub-human living conditions. These are characteristic of many mines throughout South Africa and, in particular, on the platinum belt.
We believe that the indifference of mine executives and investors to the impoverished conditions in and around the workplace ought to have consequences. For too long corporate abuse has gone unpunished, with unsustainable approaches ending in mine closures and destitute workers.
Police Conduct and Integrity of Investigations after the Killings
Charging Arrested Mineworkers with Murder
The Judicial Commission of Enquiry
We welcome the appointment of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry, led by Judge Farlam, but we:
We affirm the commitment of our collective organisations to the goals of:
We demand that:
We welcome the IPID investigation into police conduct but believe:
The Role of the Business Community
It is not enough for denunciation of these killings to come from civil society, trade unions and concerned citizens. Organised business must also condemn the killings and make a commitment to paying mineworkers a living wage and ending the apartheid-like conditions in which mineworkers continue to live and work.
The Chamber of Mines is morally culpable for the crisis.
We call on shareholders and investors in the mining industry and, in particular, the platinum belt, to add their voices to this outrage and demand more from the entities in which they invest.
Defending our Democracy
We condemn all forms of violence and support all peaceful social mobilisation, including the work of the Marikana Solidarity Campaign, and the day of action on the 8th September to ensure that never again is our democracy so tainted.
This statement is endorsed by the following organisations:
Photo by Greg Marinovich.
Watermelons were originally cultivated in Africa.