Marikana's Wonderkop in Rustenburg, North West. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Marikana's Wonderkop in Rustenburg, North West. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

UCT students commemorate Marikana massacre with crosses, still seeking closure

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Aug 16, 2019

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Cape Town – In honour of slain Marikana mineworkers, UCT student activists have erected about 40 white commemoration crosses at various spots around the institution.

Every year the students from groups including the UCT Marikana Solidarity Forum, UCT Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP) and Left Students Forum remember how 34 miners died under police brutality, something the students said they could partially relate to through the #FeesMustFall campaign.

Police shot and killed the mineworkers on August 16 in 2012 as they were participating in a protracted strike at platinum miner Lonmin after wage negotiations broke down. They were demanding to be paid a minimum basic salary of R12 500 a month.

Yesterday, UCT student activist Thabang Bhili said it was important for students to keep the miners’ memory alive because workers were still battling the issues the miners had died fighting for.

“We are still calling for justice in order for families and the country to have closure. There is a lot of fundamental issues the miners raised and I believe to date their demands have not been met.

"Farm and domestic workers are still fighting for a living wage, something the miners died for. Workers at institutions are still waiting to be insourced; they are still working through labour brokers,” Bhili said.

“These are workers who have children in higher education institutions where the funding system that is supposed to assist is still failing them. 

"Students are faced with delays, including monthly allowance meals and the 'fee-free higher education' is not free at all,” Bhili added.

“Students also related when we talk about police brutality.

“There were incidents where police used unjustified force against individuals posing no threat to them or others during #FeesMustFall. Many students were injured when police manhandled them while others were shot with rubber bullets,” he said.

A number of events, including panel discussions and the screening of two films, Miners Shot Down and Dying For Gold, will take place later this month. All events will be hosted at Jordan 2F on UCT’s upper campus.

Cape Times

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