SABC News - Mixed reaction to Lonmin shooting:Saturday 18 August 2012

Mixed reaction to Lonmin shooting

Saturday 18 August 2012 20:51


The Police Ministry put the death toll at 36 and the injured at 78.(SABC)

There has been mixed reactions to the shootout at Lonmin mine in the North West province that claimed the lives of 36 people. The Eastern Cape ANC Youth League said it was disgusted by the action of the SA Police Service.

"The police engaged in the mass killings of defenceless workers," secretary Nkosinathi Nomatiti said in a statement.

On Thursday, a shootout erupted on a hill near the mine when police tried to disperse striking miners. The Police Ministry put the death toll at 36 and the injured at 78.
Another 10 people, including two police officers, two security guards and three shop-stewards from the National Union of Mineworkers  have been killed since the start of workers' illegal strike. Protesters were demanding higher wages.

Nomatiti said the African National Congress government was partly to blame for the incident. "We are appalled by the ANC government which behaves in exactly the same disposition of an apartheid state when interacting  with our peoples demands for economic freedom," said Nomatiti.

"This is indicative of a lack of leadership at the highest echelons of our organisation and government."

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Prince Mangosutho Buthelezi welcomed the inquiry launched by President Jacob Zuma into the shooting incident. "The IFP welcomes this inquiry with the hope that it will help us uncover the whole truth, so that those responsible for this senseless violence can be held responsible for their actions," he said in a statement.
"It is my hope that the Lonmin tragedy will be a wake-up call to those in power."
The Unemployed Peoples Movement said although the Marikana mine was one of the richest platinum mines in the world, its workers lived in extreme poverty. "Most of the slain workers are rock drillers, the most difficult  and dangerous work in the mine," said spokesman Ayanda Kota. "They do the most dangerous work in the mine and yet they earn only R4 000 a month".
He said if the strikers were protesting under the banner of the  tripartite alliance they would not have been killed. "It is the ANC government that shoots and kills protesters when they are fighting for the assertion of their humanity," said Kota.

The Gandhi Development Trust and Satyagraha said it was outraged  by the violence. "We urge all parties concerned to follow in the footsteps of leaders who use peaceful methods of protesting and dealing with conflicts," said spokesman Nompumelelo Zuma.
The Young  Communist League of SA said it would be visiting the Marikana area tomorrow. Spokesperson Mangaliso Stalin Khonza said its leadership would address the community and mineworkers.

Meanwhile the organisation whose opposition to apartheid was the death knell of touring South African teams after a violence riddled 1981 Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand, has attacked the South African consulate in Auckland.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland has blamed President Jacob Zuma and the ANC led government for the shootout at the Lonmin mine in Marikana.

Protesters used red paint bombs to splatter the walls and windows of the building. Spokesperson of Global Peace, John Minto writes in an open letter to Zuma that  members of the organisation have watched with growing alarm at the direction the ANC leadership has taken in South Africa. Minto says South Africa has changed seemlessly from race based apartheid to economic apartheid.

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