Amnesty International is calling on South African authorities to ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility in relation to the 2012 Marikana killings are brought to trial, and that the victims and their families receive reparations, including adequate compensation.
“The tragedy of the Marikana killings is compounded by the shocking fact that no one responsible for the bloodshed has yet been held accountable,” says Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa.
“If the South African government wants to demonstrate that it is committed to truth and human rights, it needs to ensure that the wheels of justice start turning far faster than they have done over the past five years.”
In June 2015 the Farlam Commission, which was set up by the South African government to look into the circumstances of the killings, recommended a full investigation under the Director of Public Prosecutions, with a view to ascertaining the criminal liability of members of the SAPS who were involved in the events at Marikana.
In December 2016 President Jacob Zuma announced that criminal charges would be brought against senior police officers involved in the killings.
In March 2017, police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) identified 72 police officers for prosecution in relation to their roles in the killings at Marikana.
The dockets were submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority in May.
To date, however, no police officers involved have been prosecuted.
Justice delayed – Marikana victims speak out five years later
In July 2017, Amnesty International met with some of the victims of the shootings and their families at Nkaneng informal settlement near Lonmin’s Roland shaft, where they still live in inadequate housing and squalid conditions.
In the 2016 report, ‘Smoke and Mirrors: Lonmin’s failure to address housing conditions at Marikana’, Amnesty International revealed how the company that owns the mine, UK-based Lonmin, had committed to constructing 5,500 houses for workers by 2011 under its 2006 Social and Labour Plan (SLP).
The appalling housing conditions faced by Lonmin employees, along with grievances over low pay, were among the main drivers of the strike.
Many of the individuals Amnesty International met expressed their anger and disappointment that so little had changed in the five years since the Marikana killings.
Feature image credit: Lonmin