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  • August E-Update

    By admin | August 25, 2015


    Welcome to August’s issue of ACTSA’s E-update with a brief rundown on key issues from across southern Africa, in addition to a summary of what we’re getting up to at the moment.

    Hope you find it interesting and informative. Gives us feedback by emailing info@actsa.org

    News in brief

    Swaziland:  Unfair Trial, Arbitrary Detention and Judicial Impropriety in Swaziland

    The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) recently released its trial observation report of the trial in the High Court in Mbabane, Swaziland, in The King v The Nation Magazine, Bheki Makhubu, Swaziland Independent Publishers (Pty) Ltd, and Thulani Maseko. Makhubu and Maseko were both sentenced to two years imprisonment in July 2014 for ‘contempt of court’ and have recently been released.

    The report concludes that the arrest and detention, trial, conviction and sentencing of the defendants involved multiple violations of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a fair Trial in Africa and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    For the full report click here

    Mozambique at 40

    Mozambique celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence from Portugal on the 25th June. Shortly after the watershed anniversary, the country decriminalised homosexuality. The new penal code that this law formed a part of also included the decriminalisation of abortion. Mozambique was given a lead place in the annual Pride in London parade and celebration on 27 June. Pride in London is a celebration and affirmation of the LGBT+ community. The organisers estimate more than one million attended this years event.

    In Maputo, the 40th anniversary was marked with military parades and a number of ceremonies. The main event was the arrival of the “flame of unity”, a torch symbolising togetherness that had been carried across the country since April 7.

    Chatham House have also produced a report, ‘Mozambique to 2018’ that discusses how the country’s recent political developments may mark the beginning of an important new era of real change. The report can be found here

    Zimbabwe – Abduction of Itai Dzamara

    Itai Dzamara, a prominent human rights activist, was abducted in broad daylight from a barber shop in Harare on 9 March 2015.

    President Robert Mugabe has so far remained silent over the issue, which has attracted international criticism. On the weekend of the 10July 2015, a prayer meeting was organised by churches to put pressure on the government to find Dzamara; it attracted MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda and former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman, Temba Mliswa. This convergence of opposition parties is said to have unsettled the government. George Charamba, Mugabe’s spokesperson, accused the parties of trying to use the disappearance of Dzamara as a way to “regain a political foothold”.

    On the 17th July, the government announced a “reward” of $10,000 for anyone with information about Dzamara’s whereabouts; some human rights groups have said this should have been done much earlier in the investigation.

    There are calls for the production of a detailed report of what the government has done to find Dzamara. The Zimbabwe High Court ordered the home affairs minister, the police commissioner-general, and the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) “to do all things necessary to determine his [Itai Dzamera] whereabouts.” The ruling included an order to advertise on all state media and work closely with lawyers appointed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to search for Dzamara “at all such places as may be within their jurisdiction.” The judge ordered the government to report to the court every two weeks on its progress with the case until Dzamara is found. It seems the state has not complied with the High Court ruling.

    You can Email the Charges d’Affaires at the Embassy of Zimbabwe and urge him to use his influence so that the Government of Zimbabwe takes all necessary measures to find him.

    Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre

    16 August 2015 marks the third anniversary of the killings at Marikana. 34 people were killed on that day and 10 in the week preceding it. The 34 were shot by the South African police. The Marikana commission of Inquiry report was published at the end of June. You can read ACTSA’s statement on it here

    News from ACTSA

    ACTSA co-signs letter criticising Foreign Minister’s remarks on migrants

    ACTSA co-signed a letter published in the Guardian on 10 August criticising Phillip Hammond MP’s comments on migrants and called for action by the British and other governments to tackle the causes of poverty. Read the full letter here

    Stories from Swaziland Exhibition

    ACTSA will launch a new photo exhibition, ‘Stories from Swaziland’, on 16 September at UNISON headquarters. As well as seeking to shine a light on Swaziland’s political, economic and social problems, the exhibition provides an insight into how the country’s people and their allies abroad are working for human rights, democracy and development. If you or anyone you know would be interested in hosting the exhibition, please contact us at: campaigns@actsa.org

    2015 AGM

    A reminder that the closing date for motions and nominations as 9am Monday 21 September.

    If you have not yet registered to attend and receive the agenda and paper please email info@actsa.org putting AGM in the subject line or phone ACTSA: 020 7186 0750. Papers will be sent out at the end of September. There is no charge for attending the AGM.

    Registration, motions and nomination forms are available here

    Angola Monitor

    Our latest Angola Monitor issue 3:2015 is now available here on our website. Or you can email us at info@actsa.org to sign up and receive it by email (it’s free).

    Issue 3:2015 covers the sect killings in Huambo province, China’s investment and aid, President Hollande’s visit to Angola and much more.

    Annual Fundraising Dinner

    This year our Annual Fundraising Dinner will take place on Friday 27th November.  To book your places contact info@actsa,org or tel us 02071860750.

    We are also looking for volunteers to help us organise the event and also some people to help out on the night to make sure the evening runs smoothly. It would be fantastic if you could help in both capacities, but any help offered is greatly appreciated, even if it’s just a few hours on the day/ evening of 27 November.

    If you would like to get involved with organising the event or helping out on the night, please get in contact at: info@actsa.org

    Ageas Zip Wire Challenge

    This October, the Ageas Bowl, the home of Hampshire Cricket, is challenging people to jump from the top of the Ageas Bowl’s iconic pavilion roof terrace and zip-line down to the famous outfield to raise money for your chosen cause.

    If you are interested in challenging yourself and getting a glimpse of the stadium as you’ve never seen it before, get in touch with us at: info@actsa.org and we will provide you with all the information you need to take part for ACTSA.

    For more information on the event take a look here

    Nelson Mandela’s grandson in Liverpool to mark Slavery Remembrance Day

    Ndaba Mandela will deliver the Dorothy Kuya Slavery Remembrance Lecture in Liverpool on Friday 21 August. As well as remembering those lost through the transatlantic slave trade, Slavery Remembrance Day also reminds us of the threat of racism and discrimination in modern society. For more details on the event click here



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    SADC People’s Summit Communique

    By admin | August 20, 2015

    More than 500 representatives from a range of Southern Africa civil society organisations met in Botswana on 15 and 16 August and developed and presented a communique to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government. The communique was received by the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary. It covers seven thematic areas:

    1.Tax Justice and the Fight against Illicit Financial Flows

    2. African Solidarity, Migration and People’s  movement

    3.Governance, Democracy and Human Rights

    4.Cross-border traders, small-scale farmers

    5.Trade Negotiations and Agreements

    6.Climate Change

    7.Agricultural Finance,  Seed Sovereignty and Climate  Justice

    The whole document is available here: Gaborone SADC People’s Summit 2015 Communique Document

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    Zambia: Vedanta in the dock

    By admin | August 3, 2015

    An action has been launched in the High Court in London by the law firm, Leigh Day, on behalf of 1,800 Zambian villagers against Vedanta Resources Plc and Konkola Copper Mines.

    The action alleges that the villagers’ water sources and farming land were poisioned from the copper mining operations of both companies. Vedanta Resources Plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has a controlling share in Konkola Mines, which is the largest copper mine in Zambia.

    Vedanta and Konkola copper mines were the subject of a report by ACTSA, Christian Aid and SCIAF in 2007, “Undermining development? Copper mining in Zambia”

    Read more on the current case here

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    An interview with Mario Masuku , ‘the struggle goes on’

    By Fiona | August 3, 2015

    Greg Nicolson of South Africa’s the Daily Maverick has carried out this interview with Mario Masuku, leader of the banned political party Pudemo.

    The interview covers Mario’s time in prison, what is next for the pro-democracy movement and the role of other countries in the southern African region in supporting Swaziland’s struggle



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    International Nelson Mandela Day

    By admin | July 22, 2015

    In 2009, the United Nations declared that 18th July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, would be named Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of his contribution to peace, reconciliation and justice.   The UN called upon people to donate 67 minutes, one for every year that Nelson Mandela gave to public service, to support voluntary and community activity.

    Unsurprisingly, South Africans took to this with huge enthusiasm, and there are now so many events that the celebration has been extended over the whole of July.   There will be celebrations across the whole country.  People have been sewing blankets to keep people warm on the cold winter nights, and nights in the mountains of South Africa are cold.   People have been collecting books for libraries in remote rural areas, and in the impoverished townships.   People have been raising money for community projects.   And all this is done in a spirit of celebration of the life and legacy of an incredible man.

    And people the whole world over have thrown themselves into the celebration.    This year, for instance, there will be a poetry slam and live art demonstration in Denver, USA.   In Napier, New Zealand, they will be raising funds for a community project.   In Hanoi, Vietnam, they will be donating blood.   In New York, there will be a commemorative event at the United Nations.    In Owerri, Nigeria, they will be celebrating through fundraising.

    In London there will also be a celebration.   On Friday 17th July, there will be a concert at South Africa House, to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation, where young South African artists such as Mi Casa and Toya Delazy will be performing.   On Saturday 18th July, Mandela’s birthday, there will be a festival of music and arts at the South Bank Centre.   So, just wander along the river by the Royal Festival Hall, and look for the sculpture of Mandela’s head.

    In Glasgow, we will be sending a large container of children’s books (I am guessing at 40,000 but we will not know until the day) to schools and public libraries in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.   Mandela himself was born at Mvezo, near Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, and retired to where he was born.  He is now buried there.

     Our volunteers have been sorting and packing these books for several weeks now, and there are still thousands to be packed with only four days to go.

    The container will leave City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow at 2.30pm on Saturday 18th July.   It will be sent on its way to the Eastern Cape by Sadie Docherty, the Lord Provost.   This will be followed by a Civic Reception in which the guests will be entertained by Charlie and the Bachelors, a local jazz band, and Magnus Walker, a young baritone, will sing “Nkosi Sikelel’I Afrika”.

    This year, the world is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s legacy in style.   And in 2018, it will be the centenary of his birth, so start making your plans now.   Mayibuye I Afrika!

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    Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini released on bail

    By admin | July 15, 2015

    The Supreme Court ordered the release on bail of Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini after they served nearly 15 months in jail. They were not brought to trial. The charges against them have not been dropped and they are banned from attending and addressing political rallies.

    Read the full article here:


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    Strike! Play on the Dunnes Stores anti-Apartheid strike

    By admin | July 13, 2015

    The Ardent Theatre company are looking to produce a new version of the play, ‘Strike!’.

    Strike!, written by Tracy Ryan, tells the story of the Dunnes Stores Anti-apartheid strike in Ireland, 1984-1987. The script was written through interviews with original Strikers, Brendan Archbold (Union Organiser) and archive material.

    This production would mark the London premiere of the show and the Company is in talks with venues as high profile as the National Theatre.

    To make it happen, they need our help. They are trying to bring the play to the attention of as many people as possible in order for it to attract funding and potential audiences.

    To find out more about Strike! and about other shows that the Ardent Theatre Company are showing, follow this link: http://www.ardenttheatre.co.uk/strike

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    Statements on the Marikana Inquiry

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    National Union of Mineworkers Statement: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=10588

    Lonmin mining company statement:  http://www.lonmin-farlam.com/

    Bench Marks Foundation statement:  http://www.bench-marks.org.za

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    Main findings and recommendations from the Marikana Inquiry

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    Marikana Commission of Inquiry, summary of main findings and recommendations:





    The Commission has found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike on the one hand and between the strikers and those workers who did not participate in the strike.

    It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of, and the outbreak of violence.

    Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees.

    Lonmin also insisted that its employees who were not striking should come to work, despite the fact that it knew that it was not in a position to protect them from attacks by strikers.

    The Commission also criticized Lonmin’s implementation of undertakings with regards to the Social and Labour plans.



    The Commission has found that officials of AMCU did not exercise effective control over AMCU members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.


    They sang provocative songs and made inflammatory remarks, which tended to aggravate an already volatile situation.


    The Commission also noted that the President of AMCU, Mr Joseph Mathunjwa, did his best before the shootings to persuade the strikers to lay down their arms and leave the koppie.



    The National Union of Mineworkers did not exercise its best endeavours to resolve the dispute between itself and the strikers.


    The NUM wrongly advised Rock Drill Operators that no negotiations with Lonmin were possible until the end of the 2 year wage agreement.

    The union also did not take the initiative to persuade and enable Lonmin to speak to the workers.

    The NUM also failed to exercise effective control over its membership in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.

    It encouraged and assisted non-striking workers to go to the shafts in circumstances where there was a real danger that they would be killed or injured by armed strikers.



    Individual strikers and loose groupings of strikers promoted a situation of conflict and confrontation which gave rise, directly or indirectly, to the deaths of Lonmin’s security guards and non-striking workers, and endangered the lives of the non-striking workers who were not injured.



    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.

    The Commission has found that it cannot be said that Mr Ramaphosa was the cause of the massacre, and the accusations against him are groundless.



    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Mthethwa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.

    The Commission found that the Executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012, if the strikers did not lay down their arms, which led to the deaths of the 34 persons.



    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons submitted that Minister Shabangu should be prosecuted on charges of corruption and perjury.

    No findings were made against Minister Shabangu.



    In respect of the tragic incident of 16 August 2012, the Commission found that the Police drew up an operational plan which entailed the encirclement of a relatively small group of strikers, who would be in the koppie early in the morning.

    The strategy entailed encircling the strikers with barbed wire, and offering them an exit point through which they would need to move while handing over their weapons.


    This phase was only capable of being implemented early in the morning when there was a relatively small number of strikers. Attempts were also made to negotiate with the strikers by the police.

    The encirclement plan was replaced by the tactical option which was defective in a number of respects.

    The tactical option was implemented at about 15h40 on that day, resulting in the death of strikers in scene 1 and scene 2.

    The Commission found that the police operation should not have taken place on 16 August because of the defects in the plan.

    The Commission has found that it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed, on the afternoon of the 16th of August.

    The police should have waited until the following day, when the original encirclement plan, which was substantially risk free, could have been implemented.

    The Commission also found that the decision that the strikers would be forcibly removed from the koppie by the police on 16 August if they did not voluntarily lay down their arms, was not taken by the tactical commanders on the ground.

    The decision was instead taken by Lieutenant-General Mbombo, the North West Police Commissioner, and was endorsed by the SAPS leadership at an extraordinary session of the National Management Forum.

    The Commission also found that the operation should have been stopped after the shooting at scene 1 and that there was also a complete lack of command and control at scene 2.

    The Commission has also questioned the conduct of the police management during the inquiry.

    The Police leadership did not initially disclose to the Commission, the fact that the original plan was not capable of being implemented on the first date and that it had been abandoned.

    In addition, police leadership did not inform the Commission that the decision to go ahead with the tactical option, if the strikers did not voluntarily lay down their arms and disperse, was taken at the National Management Forum meeting on 15 August. Instead, they informed the Commission that this decision was taken on the 16th of August, and only after the situation had escalated.

    The Commission has also raised serious concern that there was a delay of about an hour in getting medical assistance to the strikers who were injured at scene 1, and asserts that at least one striker might have survived if he had been treated timeously.



    The Commission recommends that Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the Social and Labour Plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources, which should take steps to enforce the performance of these obligations by Lonmin.


    The Commission has recommended that a Panel of Experts be appointed, comprising:

    • Senior officers of the Legal Department of the SAPS;

    • Senior Officers with extensive experience in Public Order Policing;


    • Independent experts in Public Order Policing, both local and international, who have experience in dealing with crowds, armed with sharp weapons and firearms, as presently prevalent in the South African context.


    This panel should, amongst others:

    • Revise and amend all prescripts relevant to Public Order Policing;

    • Investigate the world’s best practices and measures available for use, without resorting to the use of weapons capable of automatic fire, where Public Order Policing methods are inadequate.


    In Public Order Policing situations, operational decisions must be made by an officer in overall command, with recent and relevant training, skills and experience in public order policing.


    All radio communications should be recorded and the recordings should be preserved.

    Plans for Public Order Policing operations should identify the means of communication which SAPS members will use to communicate with one another.

    A protocol should be developed and implemented for communication in large operations including alternative mechanisms, where the available radio system is such that it will not provide adequate means of communication.

    The SAPS should review the adequacy of the training of the members who use specialized equipment such as water cannons and video equipment.

    All SAPS helicopters should be equipped with functional video cameras.

    In operations where there is a high likelihood of the use of force, the plan should include the provision of adequate and speedy first aid to those who are injured.

    The commission also emphasizes that all police officers should be trained in basic first aid.

    There should be a clear protocol which states that SAPS members with first aid training, who are at the scene of an incident where first aid is required, should administer first aid.

    Specialist firearm officers should receive additional training in the basic first aid skill needed to deal with gunshot wounds.


    The Commission adds that the recommendations by the National Planning Commission, for the demilitarization and professionalizing of the SAPS, should be implemented as a matter of priority.

    With regards to accountability, where a police operation and its consequences have been controversial, requiring further investigation, the Minister and the National Commissioner should take care when making public statements or addressing members of the SAPS. They should not say anything which might have the effect of ‘closing the ranks’ or discourage members who are aware of inappropriate actions, from disclosing what they know.

    The standing orders should more clearly require a full audit trail and an adequate recording of police operations.

    The SAPS and its members should accept that they have a duty of public accountability and truth-telling, because they exercise force on behalf of all South Africans, the Commission states.

    The staffing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) should be reviewed to ensure that it is able to carry out its functions effectively.



    The Commission recommends a full investigation, under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions in North West, with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the SAPS who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.

    For the purposes of the investigation, a team should be appointed, headed by a Senior State Advocate, together with independent experts in the reconstruction of crime scenes, expert ballistic and forensic pathologists practitioners and Senior Investigators from IPID, and any such further experts as may be necessary.



    The Commission also recommends that all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012, should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, for further investigation and to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.

    The Commission states that the propensity in South Africa presently for the carrying of sharp instruments and firearms and the associated violence even in service delivery protests, requires the strict enforcement of the laws that prohibit such conduct.

    It pointed out that the Lonmin workers can be seen very clearly on videos and photographs in possession of dangerous weapons at the public gatherings or in public places.

    The Commission has thus called for a further investigation of offences, in terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act and the Possession of Dangerous Weapons Act.

    The Commission has also recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner in terms of Section 9 of the South African



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    Marikana Inquiry Incomplete – A summary

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    Marikana – a terrible tragedy that should not have occurred.

    44 people were killed around the Marikana platinum mine about 2 and half hours north-west of Johannesburg between 11 –16 August 2012. 34 were killed by the South African police on the 16 August.

    The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has reported. It makes criticism of the police, Lonmin (the mining company that owned the mine), the striking miners and the trade unions.

    The terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry were, “to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, in the North West Province which took place on about Saturday 11 August to Thursday 16 August, 2012 which led to the deaths of approximately 44 people, more than 70 persons being injured, approximately 250 people being arrested.”

    Most criticism is directed at the police operation for the killings on the 16 August. The commission found that the police decided to move from an encirclement and containment plan, which in the Commission’s view could have been implemented without significant risk of loss of life on the morning of 16 August or the following day to a plan to demand the striking miners disarm and if not force would be used which would inevitably lead to bloodshed. The Commission also severely criticised the police for not ceasing shooting at scene 1 where 16 people were killed and that at scene 2 where 17 people were killed there was a, “complete lack of control and command”.

    The Commission recommends a full investigation to ascertain criminal liability on the part of all members of the South Africa police who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.


    The Commission recommends that there be further investigation into all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012 to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.


    The Commission recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner.


    The Commission found that the Executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012, if the strikers did not lay down their arms, which led to the deaths of the 34 persons.


    The Commission is critical of the conduct of Lonmin for its failure for not doing more to resolve the dispute, not doing more to ensure the safety of employees, not responding effectively to the threat and outbreak of violence and failure to implement social undertakings it had committed to do.


    The Commission criticised the conduct the trade unions for not doing more to reduce tensions and conflict between workers.


    The Marikana Commission of Inquiry did not however consider the wider context in which Marikana occurred.


    The Commission recognises that the catalyst for the dispute was the decision of management at another platinum mine owned by Impala Platinum to unilaterally go beyond a three wage deal and pay some workers more. This led to resentment by workers at that mine and then at other mines that they were not getting an increase. It put the National Union of Mineworkers in a difficult position. It thought it had negotiated the best deal possible but then some workers they represented got an increase. The unilateral breaking of the three wage deal weakened their credibility and to some their legitimacy.


    …” the tragic events at Marikana are rooted in widespread labour disputes in the area, particularly, at Lonmin‟ s Karee mine and at the nearby Impala Platinum Mine („Implats‟) which were characterized by violence, intimidation and loss of life and the undermining of agreed collective bargaining processes;” Marikana Commission of Inquiry


    Why does the platinum sector have negotiation mine by mine whereas wage negotiations for gold mining is across the sector? In whose interests was mine by mine negotiation?

    Why 20 years after South Africa’s first democratic elections are conditions for many miners, most of whom are migrants still so poor?

    These are questions the Marikana Commission of Inquiry did not address. It was not in their terms of reference and they have interpreted their terms of reference quite narrowly. What was required was a shorter but thorough inquiry about what actually happened and as far as possible why and who is responsible for the events between 9 and 16 August and a broader inquiry into the mining industry which is what COSATU, the trade union federation called for.


    Why are many migrant workers still living in terrible conditions? Why is the industry still based around migrant labour who are away from their families and homes for 11 months a year and therefore many develop, acquire two families/homes? Why in disputes in South Africa is there the willingness to use force, sometimes and terribly and overwhelming in the case of Marikana lethal force by the police and by protesters. Why are a number of corporate social responsibility projects about PR  and not substantial and lasting improvements? What is needed to bring about transformation of the mining industry so it treats its workers more fairly and ensures benefits also flow to the communities and areas the mines are located? Has the mining industry changed in the three years since Marikana? Has policing of protests? Do protesters behave differently?


    Those who recklessly and needlessly caused and contributed to the deaths of 44 people in and around Marikana between 9 -16 August by their actions and in-actions should face justice. But as well as individuals there is the need to address systemic weaknesses and failures in and across the mining industry, in policing and by those engaging in labour and community protests.




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