One year after South African police shot dead 34 striking miners at the Marikana mine, commemoration ceremonies have been boycotted by the country’s ANC government.
It pulled out at the last minute because of the involvement of a mineworkers’ union that has accused the government of not doing enough for the miners and their families since the killings.
At a memorial service, a leading churchman also said the dead had not received justice. “We can’t call for peace where there is no justice, we must never forget, brothers and sisters, that our fallen comrades did not die to divide us but to unify us as workers, to unify us as citizens, to unite us as a nation, unity is power,” said the president of the South African Council Of Churches, Bishop Johannes Seoka.
Miner Wilmon Snooks said: “It’s really heartbreaking what the police did here, killing our brothers who just wanted decent salaries from the company, it is really sad and worrying, we will never forget that because the wives and children of the men that died here are suffering today.”
The shootings raised – still unaddressed – questions about inadequate training of many South African police officers.
A government commission of inquiry into the shootings has been stalled for months due to a lack of funding for lawyers representing the victims.