Thursday, August 23, 2012

Azania/South Africa: Emergency ILC Appeal following massacre of strikers at the Marikana mine in South Africa

Informed by the activists of Azania/South Africa who participated in the Open World Conference in Algiers (November 2010), the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC) wishes to alert its correspondents and more generally the groups and the activists of the democratic labour movement around the world of the following:

On Thursday, 16 August, the South African police opened fire on the strikers at the platinum mine of Marikana (belonging to the British group Lonmin). Nearly 40 deaths were counted. Workers in South Africa and the world over are shocked and indignant at what the South African press has called unequivocally a "bloodbath"(The Sowetan) that recalls "the worst massacres of the apartheid epoch" (Business Day).

For several weeks, the strikers, together with their trade union, have been demanding a salary of 12,500 rands (i.e., 1,250 euros -- instead of the current 4000 rands, i.e., 400 euros). "We live like animals," asserted one of the strikers who, like thousands of others, lives in a hut without running water.

Singing the songs of the struggle against the apartheid regime, the wives of the miners also came out into the streets, demanding that the South African government "stop shooting our husbands and sons!"

Speaking to thousands of miners on 18 August, the former leader of the Youth League of the ANC, Julius Malema, declared, "This mine belongs to the British, who make a lot of money on it. But these are our Black brothers who have died, murdered. Even under apartheid there never was such carnage."

As for the management of Lonmin, they gave an ultimatum to the strikers; they were to be fired if they didn't go back to work on 22 August.

The International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC) calls upon its correspondents and more generally upon all activists and democratic labour organisations of the world to take a stand in any way that they judge useful, particularly in relation to the embassies of South Africa, to demand that the South African government:

- immediately stop the repression of the strikers;

- put an end to the lock-out and denounce the Lonmin ultimatum; and

- compel the Lonmin management to open negotiations with the strikers and their trade union on their labour demands.

Louisa Hanoune and Daniel Gluckstein,
International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC)

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