Statement of the League for the Fifth International 20 August 2012
The League for the Fifth International condemns the brutal massacre – reminiscent of the Apartheid era – of 34 striking miners at the Marikana platinum mine, Rustenburg, South Africa.
We condemn the actions of the British-based Lonmin owners for refusing to negotiate an increase in the poverty wages, for using its own brutal mine guards to attack the strikers – causing deaths even before the massacre and for calling in heavily-armed police to finish the job. We condemn their arrogant demands that their workforce return to work or face dismissal.
We further condemn the Police Chief Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, as fully responsible for the bloody massacre and for previous violence.
We likewise condemn the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa – that in the years of struggle against Apartheid played a heroic role – for resorting to strike breaking against the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), who broke away from the NUM because of its repeated failures to defend mine workers, and whose demands and “wildcat” strike is fully justified.
Last but not least we condemn the ANC government of Jacob Zuma for acting as the enforcers for the mine companies and for shamelessly violating all their promises to the workering class communities by leaving economic power in the hands of big capital.
We call on the international workers’ movement and youth to come out unequivocally behind the Marikana miners, their communities, their union and their demands.
We demand the immediate granting of the miners’ claim of a rise from the current poverty wage of R4000 to a living wage R12500 .
We call for the withdrawal of all armed police and mine guards from the mining area and the arrest and trial of the Police chief and the officers responsible for ordering the shooting.
We call for the arrest of the mine management for crimes against its workforce , the nationalisation without compensation of all the mines and the recognition of workers’ control in them.
We urge rank and file workers in the NUM and all the COSATU unions to convene mass meetings call their officials to account and come out in support of the Marikana strikers – including by taking political strike action up to and including a geenral strike to win the platinum workers’ demands and extend the struggle for a living minimum wage to all sectors of the workforce.