Friday, August 19, 2022

10th anniversary of Marikana massacre: Statement by the South African Communist Party

On the 10th anniversary of the Marikana tragedy, the South African Communist Party (SACP) reiterates its call for workers and trade unions to unite with each other and together wage the common struggles against exploitation by capitalist bosses and for a capable and accountable democratic developmental state.

The SACP, once again, conveys its message of sincere condolences and solidarity to all the families of the workers who were killed before, during and after that tragic day, 16 August 2012, to the workers who were victimised, attacked and displaced, and to all the women workers who were sexually abused and raped. 
By the end of 16 August 2012, at least 44 workers had been killed over ten days, the result of the mining capitalist bosses’ machinations to divide workers and rule over them.

The events which led to the killing of workers were rooted in the actions of the mining bosses who undermined collective bargaining. Implats, for example, unilaterally offered discriminatory wage increases to one section of workers at the exclusion of the other categories and thereby directly caused the serious problem that erupted. This is exactly what happened in regard to the violence that the action engendered, and which snowballed to other mining establishments.

The mining bosses’ actions followed the global capitalist economic crisis that broke out in 2007/8 and falling platinum prices. Consequently, the capitalist bosses sought to force losses upon workers by enforcing various restructuring measures while prioritising and protecting their private profits.

The SACP reiterates its call for the criminal justice system to ensure that all the perpetrators are brought to book. It must not be possible in a democratic South Africa, and indeed in the ongoing struggle for socialism, to have people killed, displaced and women raped with no one held to account.

The SACP further calls for the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry to be fully implemented. The delayed compensation should be paid out as soon as possible. The beneficiaries MUST include the families of the ten workers who were killed before 16 August 2012, all workers who were killed on 16 August 2012, and all others whose loved ones were killed thereafter.

It is encouraging that over the years, both the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have come together closely and started working hard to unite and face the exploiters as one united force. The NUM and AMCU have participated in joint meetings and peacefully entered into collective bargaining agreements, bolstered by the united strength of workers, among other efforts.

The SACP calls for deepening of worker unity, across trade unions and trade union federations in collective bargaining and on other fronts of the workers’ struggles, to maximise impact through united action. The Congress of South African Trade Unions has resolved to call a protected socio-economic strike action on Wednesday, 24 August 2022 against the rising cost of living crisis, the energy crisis and high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The SACP fully endorses and will mobilise its structures and members in support of the action. In the same vein, the South African Federation of Trade Unions has announced action around similar issues on the same date. Unity in action around the common demands of the workers is essential and the SACP will labour tirelessly to support, achieve, deepen and grow it from strength to strength.

As the SACP, we again call upon the workers: Together, let us build a powerful, socialist movement of the workers and poor!