Pacific Scoop

Memo President Zuma: ‘You have blood on your hands over Marikana massacre’

Marikana mine massacre

South African police check bodies after shooting 34 people in the Lonhi Marikana massacre of miners striking for better pay and conditions in the north-east of the country on Thursday. President Jacob Zuma has ordered an inquiry. Image: Theipinions Journal

Pacific Scoop:
Open letter to SA President Jacob Zuma – By John Minto

Kia ora President Zuma,

Many New Zealanders who demonstrated so strongly against the apartheid system in the 1970s and 1980s have watched with growing alarm at the direction the African National Congress (ANC) leadership has taken South Africa since the first democratic election in 1994.

The events of the last week culminating in the Marikana massacre of 34 striking mineworkers with dozens injured is the inevitable outcome of the ANC choice to follow free-market economic policies which, wherever and whenever they have been employed in human history, have always transferred wealth from the poor to the rich and stripped hope from the majority.

Under the ANC we have seen South Africa change seemlessly from race-based apartheid to economic apartheid.

We didn’t protest here just to see a few black faces at the top table in South Africa. We didn’t turn out in our tens of thousands to face batons and barbed wire so the likes of former anti-apartheid leaders such as Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Julius Malema could become obscenely rich off the backs of South Africa’s workers – 34 of whom were riddled with police bullets two days ago.

The appalling scenes played out on our TV screens are reminiscent of the darkest days of apartheid such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and the murder of black school children in Soweto in June 1976.

Just as we held the apartheid regime responsible for those massacres, we now hold the ANC government responsible for the massacre of striking mineworkers.

You and your government have blood on their hands.

Leadership betrayal
This year is the 100th anniversary of the formation of the ANC – it should be a time of pride and celebration for all the people of South Africa but the betrayal of the struggle by the ANC leadership leaves most of us cold.

As a spokesperson for Abahlahli baseMjondolo, which is struggling for decent housing against violence and intimidation said last month:

“All is slowly sinking as the new government is making sure that we remember the heroes of the struggle but not what the struggle was for”.

At this time of deep sadness for those and injured and their families, and anger at the ineptitude, self-service and corruption running to the core of your government, we stand once more with the poor and oppressed people of South Africa and their struggle for freedom, hope and dignity.

John Minto is a Global Justice and Peace Auckland (GPJA) spokesperson and a frequent contributor to Pacific Scoop.

Zuma announces inquiry into police mine shootings

1 comment:

  1. Don Franks, 20. August 2012, 13:25

    Last Saturday five Wellington activists crashed the Victoria university based seminar:
    “ANC Centenary Conference : How New Zealand helped to end Apartheid”and made a short sharp protest.
    We initially turned up to protest outside, but there were hardly any public there at that time of day.
    So we evaded security to enter the packed lecture theatre, where attendees were awaiting the introduction of a guest speaker. In tense silence, our group made a slow circuit of the theatre, crossing the front of the main stage before leaving. We held up signs saying “South Africa – stop shooting striking workers” and distributing leaflets exposing the ANC. Some of the crowd looked affronted, but I think our small solidarity action put ANC police atrocities more clearly in focus for the conference.