African National Congress

MARIKANA MASSACRE A SIGN THERE IS NO ECONOMIC LIBERATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

Marikana Massacre of 50 African workers and 78 injured at the platinum mine North-West of Johannesburg under ANC government on 16 August 2012, illustrates the absence of economic liberation for 80% of the African people who were supposedly “liberated” in April 1994. Azania (South Africa) is home to 80% of the world’s known reserve of platinum, a very precious metal which competes with gold in value and price.

The price of platinum fluctuates between $1650 and $1800 per ounce. Miners at Marikana platinum mine as all other mines where minerals are dug from the ground; do very dangerous work. Some miners have described mining as “graves” as the mine can collapse at any time bury them, never for them to come out alive. The Marikana platinum miners went on strike demanding an increase on their wages. They are paid R4000 a month. This is about five hundred American dollars. Many of these miners have families to support.

They were massacred in what the media has described as: “Another Sharpeville,” “The Hill of Horror,” “Bloodiest Security Operation Since Apartheid,” “Bloodbath,” “Killing Field,” “Mine Slaughter,” etc. Three thousand miners took part in this mine strike. It involved talks with mine company unsuccessfully. The platinum bosses are some of the leading controllers of the economy in this economically colonised African country.

2012 RUTH FIRST MEMORIAL LECTURE!

My personal tribute to her is best cast in what Comrade Harry Gwala, another martyr of our heroic struggle, taught to young cadres and political prisoners on Robben Island. That included the president of the Republic and me. I was one of those who sat at the feet of this self-proclaimed Stalinist and master of the revolution. I do not recall who he attributed the quote to but the revolutionary mantra stayed with me: I have expunged reference to “man” for “woman”

“A woman’s greatest possession is life. Since it is given to her to live but once, she must so live it that in dying she must be able to say: all my life and all my strength have been dedicated to the finest cause in the world and that is the liberation of mankind.”

Enough said about the revolution and its poetry. The agonising question I have chosen to ask is in what way the heroic life of Ruth First should inspire my role as a judge in a post-conflict society; thus a transforming society or one in transition. I propose to explore that question within the overarching theme of courage of principle.

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