Did South African police kill at Marikana to help black billionaire Ramaphosa’s finances?

The scene at Marikana, north west of Johannesburg, last week

Over the past few days PRAAG obtained new information about the Marikana massacre that is currently still making frontpage news in South Africa. It appears as if the miners of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) were deliberately murdered by the police as part of a campaign to get rid of the bothersome union.

AMCU was busy replacing the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) as the majority union at the mine. The NUM is affiliated with COSATU, which is a member of the ANC regime’s so-called “tripartite alliance”. Before the shooting started, police ordered the media to leave the area.

Lauren Clifford-Holmes, the multimedia editor for the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian, was prevented last Thursday night from speaking to injured mineworkers. However, she stumbled upon two workers at Lonmin who confirmed that strife between the two trade unions was responsible for the problems, as NUM representatives were not re-elected by dissatisfied miners.
Cyril Ramaphosa

Black businessman and high-ranking ANC politician, Cyril Ramaphosa, apparently owns a contract to supply labour to the Lonmin mine at Marikana via his company Shanduka. “Ramaphosa and the NUM is practising a form of slave labour at the mine,” a source said at Marikana. “He is supplying labour at about R12 000 ($1500) per worker per month, but only pay his workers R4000 ($500) per month, thereby pocketing the difference. As a former NUM chief, he is able to control the union leaders and sees to it that he maintains this grotesque form of exploitation.”

However, NUM’s rival, AMCU, demands that the R12 000 received by Shanduka as labour broker in terms of the contract, should be paid directly to workers. Particularly the rock drillers, who perform the most difficult and dangerous work, felt that they were entitled to this wage, given that this was the tariff already received by Cyril Ramaphosa’s company for work at the mine.

An ex-policeman that PRAAG spoke to, but who prefers to remain anonymous, said that judging from the photographs he had seen, the workers were not attacking the police, but were fleeing from an area where a second police contingent was throwing tear gas at them. “One could see how some of them were trying to protect their eyes and faces. They thought they were fleeing to a safe place, where the heavily armed policemen mowed them down with automatic weapons, however,” said the ex-policeman.

The motive for the mass murder at the Lonmin mine at Marikana was apparently the protection of Shanduka’s lucrative service contract for supplying labour to the mine. Shanduka has already annouced that it will donate R2 million for the funeral of the 34 workers.

The workers are mostly from Lesotho, an independent country, and areas in the Eastern Cape. It would therefore be difficult for them to defend their rights and lives against the ANC-controlled state, cooperating closely with the British-controlled mining company. Until now, the only questions abut the massacre have come from black politicians and activists from outside governing ANC circles.

A group known as the September National Imbizi did a local investitagion and talked to an eyewitness alleging that the mineworkers were “drawn into an ambush” and that they were first bombarded with a “blue substance”, after which they were shot dead during the confusion. Many were executed while trying to hide among rocks and under bushes. On the websit of September National Imbizo, the eyewitness is referred to as “our friend”:

“…our friend shows us how several people were shot while they were hiding between the rocks and under bushes. We see for ourselves splatters of blood that indicate the determination to dig workers out of their hiding holes and shoot them dead. All sorts of items of clothing and shoes, soiled with blood lie all around the scene.”

The website also claims:

“What is clear from what we are told is that this was an ambush. The video material in mainstream media showing workers charging at the police was in fact workers running away from bullets being hurled from behind. Why would workers, armed with knobkierries [African-style clubs – ed.] charge at armed police? The workers were completely surrounded and what we’ve been seeing in the media is only half the story. There was clearly a mission: shoot to kill, thus the deployment of the army.”

Other strange incidents took place.

The media were kept away from the scene for hours so that it would be difficult to reconstruct the exact events. A contact of The Star newspaper was shot dead during the massacre. The police also forced a photographer from the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian to delete his photographs. Why were the police so scared that particular evidence regarding the shooting would leak out?

A video shown in the Netherlands, contained a Vodafone ambulance on the scene. The same vido was later shown in South Africa on News24.com, but without the ambulance, indicating that the video must have been edited.
Beforehand SAPA reported the following statement by the leader of the AMCU:
“We are not safe. Our phones have been tapped,” the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathenjwa told a crowd in the Wonderkop informal settlement at Lonmin.
“We have been democratically colonised – workers work under very harsh conditions.”
After the massacre Mathenjwa demanded a really independent investigation, but the ANC simply appointed one of its own ministers, Collins Chabane, to lead the commission of enquiry. Under the previous, so-called “apartheid government” judges were always appointed to commissions of enquiry.
What Mathenjwa is probably referring to when he talks of “democratic colonisation”, is that workers are paid R4000 per month while Cyril Ramphosa is receiving three times as much per worker.

A Johannesburg businessman PRAAG spoke to and who is also in the services sector, confirmed that the ANC’s cadres have virtually instituted a system of “slave labour” in the country. The former officers of their militia, Umkhonto we Sizwe, is currently providing labour to the mines by recruting foreigners. Few, if any, mines still employ workers directly.

“Everything which the ANC described as apartheid, including the system of migrant labour, now applies, except in a far worse degree,” said the businessman. “The ANC’s cadres control everything. They have dug themselves into all sectors of the economy. They do not rule, they are in business. The state is for them just another business, with resources that they may use to enrich themselves. That is what BEE stands for, Black Elite Enrichment.”

Among those state resources controlled by the ANC, is the police force. Was it used to punish the AMCU and “make an example” of the rival union? In the run-up to the 1994 elections the ANC committed necklace murders against so-called “sell-outs”. Where tens of millions of rand are at issue in the provision of labour to a mine, one may therefore expect that an organisation as ruthless as the ANC will use all means at its disposal to eliminate a rival.

During the shooting a journalist from The Star, Poloko Tau, tweeted from the scene:  “Auto guns creacking [sic] and cocked like 100 at a time, scary … warzone down here, 1st shot fired … journalist running, diving and hiding amid shots, water canon spewing water at the strikers … my contact has just been shot dead …”

After the Marikana massacre, some people simply “disappeared”. SAPA reported the following:

“Around 100 women arrived at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court outside Pretoria today where more than 250 protesters were expected to appear for public violence.

One woman, Nombulelo Jali, 37, wept hysterically. She said police did not know what happened to her husband Themba Khalo Jali, 40, who she says was arrested on Thursday.

‘I have come all the way from Harding in KwaZulu-Natal but we can’t find him. We have frantically searched everywhere and we can’t locate him. Police took him,’ said Jali.”

Julius Malema alleges that many of the striking workers are currently detained “irregularly in a private prison”. His friend and ex-colleague from the ANC Youth League, Floyd Shivambu, also said that many of the workers were shot in the back, which would indicate that they were running away from the police when they were shot.

This could not be verified, as a security blanket has been pulled over the area and journalists are not allowed at the mine hospital.

The narrow links between the British-controlled mining houses and the ANC may be traced back many decades. The first contact between the Afrikaner establishment and the exiled ANC was arranged by the mining company Consolidated Goldfields in England during the eighties. On that occasion Thabo Mbeki and Willie Esterhuyse met each other. Their relationship later played a crucial role in the capitulation of the Afrikaner government as Esterhuyse had persuaded several cabinet ministers that the ANC could be “trusted”.

The mining houses also played a leading role in portraying the ANC as the new government for South Africa and probably entered into private agreements with the so-called “liberation movement”.

Yesterday the chairman of Lonmin, Roger Phillimore, blamed “apartheid” for the poor conditions in which his mineworkers have to live, knowing that Shanduka and Lonmin are pocketing the greater share of the mine’s income for themselves.

Riah Phiyega

Julius Malema held Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa responsible for the mass murder: “They presided over the massacre of our people… Not even the apartheid government killed as many.”

It is unclear whether the police’s actions will be investigated internally, as the executive director of South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Mr. Francois Beukman, has recently resigned “to pursue other interests”. He is leaving the service at the end of the month. His contract would only have expired in August 2014. At any rate, the new national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, does not consider the shooting of 34 people “to be a massacre”.