Defend Truth

Marikana: 10 years later

Victims are still fighting for justice a decade after Marikana and have vowed to continue trying to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa and others accountable for the massacre as so much, but so little, seems to have changed.

By Greg Nicolson

"We realise after a couple of the people have died that this is not the rubber bullets. It is the live ammunition. That is when the people started to run." - Marikana miner and eyewitness. Read the story

As the country remembers that horrific day 10 years ago, the victims’ families tell Daily Maverick of their sense of betrayal and justice not served, giving their lingering grief an acute edge.

By Nonkululeko Njilo

Striking South African mineworkers chant slogans at the Wonderkop informal settlement near Marikana platinum mine, Rustenburg, South Africa, 16 August 2012. (Photo: EPA / STR)

As a photographer, a storyteller who uses images to communicate with people, that day when police opened fire, killing 34 striking mine workers, has never left me.

By Felix Dlangamandla

If you value the work our journalists do and want to support Daily Maverick’s efforts to hold those in power to account, consider becoming a Maverick Insider.

In the direct aftermath of the Marikana massacre, the narrative put out by police was that mine workers were shot by cops in danger acting out of self-defence. This might have stayed the official story of Marikana — were it not for a brave team of researchers and one battle-hardened journalist. 

By Rebecca Davis

Despite an inquiry, reports, recommendations and promises, nothing seems to change and the shrinking South African Police Service is still beset by problems and bad leadership.

By Caryn Dolley

Striking miners protest at the Lonmin mine near Marikana, North West province, South Africa on 16 August 2012. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla FOTO24/GAUTENG)

Some of the miners killed in the 16 August massacre at Marikana appear to have been shot at close range or crushed by police vehicles. They were not caught in a fusillade of gunfire from police defending themselves, as the official account would have it. Greg Marinovich spent two weeks trying to understand what really happened. What he found was profoundly disturbing.

By Greg Marinovich

“He was one of the survivors of the shooting – probably Scene Two – which is where he killed himself eventually. He had been arrested on 16 August, along with some 200 other survivors, and most likely charged with murder. All survivors were, as far as I know. The tree he hanged himself from was alongside the tree where Mr Nkosiyabo Xalabile’s body was found [body O, according to forensic evidence]. On the day I went to the scene of the hanging with miners, we found several presumably police-spent cartridges from the 16th just 2,8 metres away,” – Acclaimed photo journalist Greg Marinovich.


Read an excerpt from Daily Maverick’s book, We Have A Game Changer, on how the publication covered the Marikana murders.

The previously unpublished image from Greg Marinovich’s portfolio of photographs on the Marikana massacre of 16 August 2012.

The previously unpublished image from Greg Marinovich’s portfolio of photographs on the Marikana massacre of 16 August 2012.

Small Koppie, Marikana, North West province, September 5, 2012. E and D altered. All but one letter at Small Koppie had been altered or defaced. A new marking was added further to the west, marked with the letter X. This had not been at the scene at any previous time. Photo Greg Marinovich

While between 3,000 and 5,000 striking miners were marching five kilometers to deliver their demands to Lonmin management, the police, it seems, were quite busy at Small Koppie. As luck would have it, Greg Marinovich and a bunch of attorneys were there soon after. Result: Small Koppie keeps delivering wallops of disturbing information.

By Greg Marinovich

Marikana is now a key part of Sibanye’s profitable portfolio. A change of ownership and a surge in prices have pulled the mine back from the brink.

By Ed Stoddard

From the archives

Photo credits:

Image 1: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla

Image 2: EPA/STR

Image 3: EPA/STR

Image 4: EPA/STR

Image 5: EPA/Kim Ludbrook

Image 6: Felix Dlangamandla / FOTO24

Image 7: Felix Dlangamandla / FOTO24

Image 8: Greg Marinovich

Image 9: Greg Marinovich

Image 10: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images

All photos by EPA. Form shows most recent first and tournaments include the 2018 World Cup. DM