Ten years after the Marikana massacre, justice nowhere

Ten years after the Marikana massacre, justice nowhere


His brother, who was hoping for a better salary, was shot by police in Marikana, in the worst massacre in South Africa since the end of apartheid: ten years later, Nolufefe Noki is still waiting explanations.  

Nicknamed “the man with the green blanket,” which he wore wrapped around his shoulders, Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki, 30 at the time , had become a figure of protest for thousands of minors. He enthusiastically encouraged his fellow strikers with raised fists.

Until August 16, 2012. “We don't know what happened,” says his sister, a slender 42-year-old woman. years with a hoarse voice, in her house in Mqanduli, in the east of the country.

She just knows that the police have come and that “many have been killed”.

Thirty-four, to be exact. And 78 wounded, in a chaos of dust and tear gas. A drama that has deeply marked the young South African democracy. 

Since then, a handful of police officers have appeared but none have been convicted, according to the prosecution. Half of the compensation claims filed have been settled, Attorney General Fhedzisani Pandelani said on Wednesday, deeming it “regrettable” that these procedures have taken so long.

An official inquiry has questioned the 'police tactics' deployed that day, recommending prosecution several years ago against those responsible for the bloodshed near the platinum mine, more than an hour's drive away. northwest of Johannesburg.

Abandoned tomb

For the survivors and the families of the victims, the memory of the events is intact.< /p>

“I don't want to talk about any more of this. I still have so much trouble,” breathes Nolufefe Noki, boots on, in the small vegetable garden behind his traditional round house.

Much of the mining workforce comes from remote areas like this one. The women stay in the country with the children, the men hire more than a thousand kilometers away. 

Mambush sent the equivalent of 150 euros per month to his family. In 2012, he returned home in a coffin. 

“I was told that I couldn't see the body, that it was too damaged,” said her sister, looking lost. His tomb, in the middle of the hills, is covered with weeds. Nobody has the heart to support him.

Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a striking miner, escaped with nine gunshot wounds and a salary increase following the massacre. Today he lives in a workers' hostel near the hill where the police fired.

“The government doesn't care about us,” said the burly 34-year-old. “It's been ten years now, our lives should have gotten better. On the contrary, everything got worse”. 

– Mourning impossible –

Even before the massacre, ten people had died in clashes on the sidelines of the strike. 

Aisha Fundi's husband, Hassan, a security guard, was killed by strikers. As part of the reparations, she was offered a job at the mine, which she considers very inadequate. 

'Me and my children want justice,' says 49-year-old woman , mother of two boys, who would at least like to know who killed her husband. 

Her fear is that her killers are still working in the mine. She may meet them without knowing it.

Victims and families are stuck in their mourning. “There has been no justice”, says sociologist Trevor Ngwane, and the “Marikana region remains traumatized”. 

We are still facing “an open grave”, estimated this political commentator Onkgopotse Tabane during an event organized by the AMCU, the country's main mining union.