News / Africa

South African Miners Still Determined Following Shootout

ANC's Supremacy Questioned after Mine Shootingi
|| 0:00:00
X
August 20, 2012 12:04 AM
South Africa is facing a deep identity crisis after the police shooting of striking miners last Thursday. Twenty years after the end of white minority rule, few could imagine such a thing could happen under a government led by the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela's liberation party. For the miners, trust is gone. Emilie IOB reports for VOA from the Lonmin mine in Marikana, South Africa.

ANC's Supremacy Questioned after Mine Shooting

RUSTENBURG, South Africa — Two days after the shootout at a mine in South Africa where 34 striking miners died, the atmosphere is still very heavy on the site, as the miners remain undeterred in their strike for a better salary.  In addition to the 34 miners killed, two policemen and two mine security officers were among 10 people killed in the days leading up to Thursday's shootings.

They face the police force, unscarred and undeterred. Two days after the worst shootout of the post-apartheid era, the women of the miners want to show that their determination is intact. In front of the Lonmin mine, 100 kilometers east of Pretoria, they repeat their same demand : a threefold pay raise for their husbands, from their current $490 per month. 

But everywhere, bewilderment prevails, as one of the women, Princess Maxuthu, said, "We are angry. I have a big problem with the government. We didn't expect that thing with the police. The police is doing a bad thing. [They] killed our families, our friends."

Earlier in the day, some women went to the mine's hospital, a few hundred meters away.  In the outside parking lot, families can come and learn the fate of their relatives: in jail, injured, or dead. 

The police presence is reduced from Friday.  Every day the miners gather on an open space behind the informal settlement where they live, a stone's throw from the Lonmin mine and from the little hill where the shootout happened. On Saturday, South African politician Julius Malema, a former official of the ruling ANC (African National Congress) party, famous for his criticism of the historic party, is coming to talk to them. 

The welcome is warm. Malema, the former ANC Youth League leader who recently got fired from the party, is going to say what the 2 000 striking miners want to hear.  "There is something with [South African] president [Jacob] Zuma. He must step down. He never cared about you, no money, no shoes. President Zuma presided over the massacre of our people. President Zuma's government has murdered our people," he said. 

And it seems the politician has convinced his audience, as Bisusua, one of the people in the crowd explained. "I think Malema is Number One, he is the one supporting us. Zuma, he didn't come," he said. 

The shooting tragedy is another strong blow to the reputation of Nelson Mandela's famous party, already weakened by internal divisions.

At the Lonmin mine itself, the situation is back to quiet. At dusk, the police went to take out the barbed wire around the hill where the drama happened.

South Africa police officials say their officers fired at the miners on Thursday in self defense. 

  • An unidentified woman chants as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • Members of a South African police crime unit investigate the scene of the shooting of miners at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • An unidentified woman cries as she protests against the police opening fire and killing striking mine workers a day earlier at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 17, 2012.
  • A policeman fires at protesting miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen fire at striking miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • A miner runs as police shoot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
  • Policemen in teargas and dust open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • Police open fire on striking miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, August 16, 2012.
  • A paramedic (front L) receives help from a policewomen as he tends to the injured after protesting miners were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, August 16, 2012.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid