The History Of The Marikana Massacre

Satisfactory Essays
The events of the Marikana Massacre are a tragic stain on South Africa’s post-Apartheid history. It is a violent take of an uprising of miners that threatened to destabilize South Africa’s mining industry in Rustenburg. The death toll was at 34 on 16 August 2012 and later rose to 45 after the South African Police Service launched their attack on the striking miners. The Lonmin Miner’s strike was characterised by violence, intimidation and assault. This strike action was led by Joseph Matunjwa of the Association of Miners and Construction Union (AMCU). It began on 9 August 2012; a number of mine workers started striking at Lonmin Mines demanding a wage increase (Forrest 2013). The following day striking workers complained of intimidation and assault with a couple of workers needing medical attention. Two mine security guards are subsequently hacked to death. The SAPS responded to the violent strike and were attacked. What happened next brought back memories of apartheid violence when the SAPS killed 34 protesters and left 78 miners wounded. African National Congress Youth League former president, Julius Malema, addressed the miners and encouraged them to fight for their cause even if it would result in death. Workers eventually obtained an 11% wage increase and on 1 October the Marikana Commission of Inquiry into the killings opens in Rustenburg (Forrest 2013).
This travesty not only had a social impact but an economical one as well. It was reported that the strike cost at least R 400 million a day. The question needs to be asked whether this horrific tragedy was inevitable in light of South Africa’s chosen variety of capitalism. It should be noted that post-apartheid plans of a co-operative government were discarded i...

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... raising real wages, boosting productivity and advocating for ‘decent work’ for the employed (Meersman 2013).
South Africa has a conflicted variety of capitalism as it displays a range of CME-like labour regulations and neo-patrimonialism but it is in conflict with the more liberal economic environment that is claims to have. These adversarial labour relations resulted in the class compromise which contributed to the violence of the Marikana Massacre. This Marikana saga has had a huge effect on the economy, stalling foreign investments and the loss of countless millions of rands. Despite this wake-up call for South African executives, nothing has really changed this protectionist relationship that the state has with capital. There seems to be no immediate prospects for a more co-ordinated, social democratic variety of capitalism on South Africa’s horizon.
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