South Africa

Police Kill 30+ Strikers at South Africa Mine

Marikana platinum plant action began a week ago. Lonmin shares tank.

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Marikana platinum mine, August 2012

Following days of unrest at Lonmin's Marikana platinum plant in South Africa, police have confirmed that they killed more than 30 miners. This is some of the worst violence since the end of apartheid. 

From AP

[The killings] "awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking — it has exploded," The Sowetan newspaper said in an editorial. "Africans are pitted against each other … fighting for a bigger slice of the mineral wealth of the country. In the end the war claims the very poor African—again."

Police ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi told The Associated Press on Friday that more than 30 people were killed on Thursday in the police volleys of gunfire during the strike, now a week old. The Star, a Johannesburg newspaper, said another 86 people were wounded. People were gathering at hospitals in the area, hoping to find missing family members among the wounded.

Sharpeville Township Massacre, 1960

 From Reuters:

After over 12 hours of official silence, police minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed at least 30 men had died when police tried to move 3,000 striking drill operators armed with machetes and sticks from a rocky outcrop at the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.

"A lot of people were injured and the number keeps on going up," he said in an interview on Talk Radio 702.

One radio station caller likened the incident, at Lonmin's Marikana platinum plant, to the 1960 Sharpeville township massacre near Johannesburg, when apartheid police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters, killing more than 50.

Shares of Lonmin, the company that owns the mine, are collapsing, down "8 percent to 595 pence," according to AP. 

South Africa is a former Afrikaner settlement/British possession that instituted a policy of apartheid or racial separation when it gained independence in 1948. South Africa dismantled the apartheid system, without large-scale violence, in 1990. 

How much mineral wealth is at stake in South Africa? It looks like the entire lode wouldn't pay a fifth part of the U.S. federal debt

NEXT: Brickbat: No Good Deed

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  1. Well in that case, I ain’t gonna play Sun City.

      1. Damn you, Ted S. Damn you to hell

        1. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised if none of you remembered this song, since everybody else here seems to go on and on about shitty metal music. (I’m not saying I liked it; it’s just that I didn’t do the metal thing back in the lovely lovely 80s. So I remember a different set of shitty songs.)

          Or were you trying to forget it?

          1. Oh I remember it. I remember it only too well

  2. Fucking Pinkertons!
    /Swearengen

  3. South Africa is a former Afrikaner settlement/British possession that instituted a policy of apartheid or racial separation when it gained independence in 1948. South Africa dismantled the apartheid system, without large-scale violence, in 1990.

    Thanks Tim, we wouldn’t have known otherwise

    1. I don’t understand, if apartheid is gone, how could this possibly have happened?

  4. Procedures were followed, I’m sure.

    1. the police were out numbered by a huge mob with machetes and when lawfully ordered to disperse from privsate property the officers had every right and justification to shoot them in accoirdance with all uof procedures and the law imo it was a justified shoot
      hth
      /dunphy

      1. That’s actually not that far off from the truth. This wasn’t some occutard rally on a college campus. These were armed protesters, who have killed others this week, who charged the police. If you had a large group of armed men charging you, would you just stand around? There are no blameless actors in this.

        1. I know, I was just doing dunphy to have a little fun being a dick.

  5. No good guys in this, the unions behaved violently and the police behaved violently as well. Nor is this anything like Sharpeville, this was not whites shooting blacks.

    1. Yes, thanks to the end of apartheid the protestors can get shot by black cops now.

    2. So you’re saying it’s Bush’s fault?

      1. So you’re saying it’s Bush’s fault?

        I’m pretty sure that goes without saying.

        1. Too late, I already said it 🙁

    3. Yeah, was going to say: an angry mob with machetes and clubs supposedly charged at the police. What were the police supposed to do? No mention of that here though.

      I know our gut reaction is to blame police, but please try to report both sides next time. The presentation here makes it sound like the police just randomly massacred a crowd of peaceful protestors.

  6. there is footage of this: http://www.smh.com.au/world/mi…..24c70.html

    1. Unfortunately it looks they edited it a bit to remove some footage.

      more:
      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfb_1345136218

  7. Don’t bring a machete to a gun massacre.

    1. On the other hand, DO bring Machete to a gun massacre.

    2. If you watch the live leak footage above closely, you can see a puff from the ground near the front officer at 0:03. At 0:45, near the front of the strikers, you can see an officer bend down, pick up and remove a handgun.

      It appears to me the strikers shot first.

      Whether or not the response was disproportionate I’ll leave open to debate.

  8. Pussy Riot has been convicted – no surprise there, sadly

    1. Yeah, they were always going to get convicted. The question is will they get a ridiculous sentence or a “reasonable”* one?

      *DRINK x 2

      1. what’s a reasonable sentence? Your fate is turned into a Friday Funny by Chip Bok and you have to try to get laid while dressing like Matt Welch on a bad day?

        1. No, a reasonable sentence would be that they have to come live with me and make out in front of me every day for a week while I read to them out of Brian Doherty’s book.

          1. Brian has a book?

            1. I didn’t know Brian Dennehy even posted here.

      2. In Putin’s prisons, “reasonable sentence” is gangrape by prison guards for a few years.

        1. If all the guards looked like he did, I’d sign up. He’s so swoooooooony.

  9. 1) In Soviet Russia, guards strike YOU!

    2) We could get our labor relations in the US to this advanced state without too much effort.

    I mean BACK to this advanced state.

    /Battle of the Overpass

  10. Better coverage:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19292909

    http://rt.com/news/south-africa-mine-violence-862/

    From the RT link comments:
    There is almost never a peaceful protest here , if they are upset over some form of service delivery, or wages, they go and burn things down. Our highways get barracaded and stones get thrown at cars.
    The mine workers started off protesting peacefully, and somehow they ended up killing two police officers and allegedly they took their service pistols afterwards. The problem with the wages is as far as our news has reported, that they are earning roughly R4000 per month + a place to stay in. They are demanding R12,000 per month a 3x increase. I can imagine how terrible it is to work in a mine, but getting jobs in this country is difficult and you need to do what you need to do to make a living right now.
    I’m in the retail sector as a salesman and i earn R2700 per month. I was looking for a job for over 4 years, ended up having to move to a different city just to get one.

    Its just not a good place to live.

    1. Its just not a good place to live.

      Lies! It’s the People’s Paradise since they ended apartheid, and got a disciplined force of the left government in place!

  11. More importantly to most South Africans, the third Test Match at Lords today got off to a rousing first innings with Trott and Cook for England already bowled out by Dale Steyn.

    Looks like the Limeys will likely play for a draw in what will most certainly be the lead story on tonight’s news in Jo-burg.

  12. Reminds me of an old joke: whats the difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa? About 10 years.

    1. There are many millionaires in Zimbabwe. They are all VERY poor.

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