Marikana Mine Violence

What do you say to the deaths of 40 or more persons involved in the confrontation between members of (different) unions, mine security and the police?  Please accept our condolences for their deaths.  How is that going to help?

This incident should never have been allowed to happen.

First, violence should not be part of wage negotiations, if that is what this is all about.  Second, rival unions should not use violence to compete for membership, if that also is what this is about.  It is not adequate that some miners are prepared to risk confrontation, injury and even death (see). In any event, it is also claimed that many participants are there because they have been threatened – join us or suffer the consequences. But why should the miners even think this is necessary to better their lot?  Something much more basic is wrong with this situation.  The mines are not doing their jobs properly and the unions are not doing their jobs properly or this tragedy would never have come about.

Miners are often among the worst paid of workers, wherever they are in the world.  Is that the case with Lonmin’s workers or are they and their union representatives being unreasonable? Irrespective, maybe the mining companies and unions need to re-examine their core values because these sorts of confrontations are not working for anyone, least of all for the deceased and their families, who have suffered heart-rending losses. 

And yes, for what it is worth, we offer our condolences to all who have suffered loss in this madness.  

And resoundingly yes, there must be a public judicial inquiry and the instigators must be brought to account. 

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