Police kill 34 striking miners in South Africa

Bloodiest security operation since the end of white rule has people and media questioning country's post-apartheid soul.

By REUTERS
August 17, 2012 13:57
2 minute read.
South African police clash with strikers

South African police clash with strikers 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

MARIKANA, South Africa - The killing by police of 34 striking platinum miners in the bloodiest security operation since the end of white rule cut to the quick of South Africa's psyche on Friday, with people and the media questioning its post-apartheid soul.

Newspaper headlines screamed "Bloodbath", "Killing Field" and "Mine Slaughter", with graphic photographs of heavily armed white and black police officers walking casually past the bloodied corpses of black men lying crumpled in the dust.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.




The images, along with Reuters television footage of a phalanx of officers opening up with automatic weapons on a small group of men in blankets and t-shirts, rekindled uncomfortable memories of South Africa's racist past.

After over 12 hours of official silence, police minister Nathi Mthethwa confirmed that at least 30 men had died when police moved in against 3,000 striking drill operators armed with machetes and sticks and massed on 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.

In a front page editorial, the Sowetan questioned what had changed since 1994, when Nelson Mandela overturned three centuries of white domination to become South Africa's first black president.

"It has happened in this country before where the apartheid regime treated black people like objects," the paper, named after South Africa's biggest black township, said. "It is continuing in a different guise now."

President Jacob Zuma cut short a visit to a regional summit in neighboring Mozambique to head to the mine. Zuma, who faces an internal leadership election in his ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December, said he was "shocked and dismayed" at the violence, but made no comment on the police behavior.

"We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence," he said in a statement.

Despite promises of a better life for all South Africa's 50 million people, the ANC has struggled to provide basic services to millions in poor black townships. Efforts to redress the economic inequalities of apartheid have had mixed results.

The mining sector comes in for particular criticism from radical ANC factions as a bastion of "white monopoly capital".

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

GAL GADOT as 'Shank' in 'Ralph Breaks the Internet'
November 20, 2018
‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and Gal Gadot praised by critics

By AMY SPIRO