Families and colleagues gathered at the koppie to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of 34 miners during the strike in Marikana. File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).
As the nation marked the seventh anniversary of the Marikana Massacre on Friday, the memory of the fateful day in 2012 when police officers mowed down 34 mineworkers, was brought sharply into focus because we are no closer to finding answers than we were on the day it happened.

The reasons the “new dawn” police acted like their apartheid-era predecessors by opening fire on the striking workforce remain veiled in secrecy and cover-ups.

It is not enough that former North West deputy commissioner William Mpembe and his two co-accused are standing trial in the provincial High Court sitting in Mogwase for their role in the Marikana killings.

Mpembe, Gideon van Zyl and Oupa Pule are foot soldiers. They clearly must have been taking orders from someone higher up the command chain.

That authority remains faceless and not charged as scores of women have been left widows and scores more children without the support of their breadwinners who perished on that day.

The fathers, sons and uncles died for daring to ask their employer, Lonmin, for a R12 500 salary increase. In post-apartheid South Africa, this is tantamount to dying for peanuts.

No wonder Marikana continues to be an albatross around our collective necks, the Sharpeville 1960 and Soweto 1976 of our day.

Orders were given on the day, at the end of which, striking mine-workers were reduced to fatalities, statistics.

Marikana remains a hotbed of political intolerance. This assertion is evidenced by the fact that only a few political parties can campaign freely in the area during elections. Marikana is a powder-keg.

All it needs for the ground forces to go haywire is one charlatan to set a flame to the already volatile situation.

Those who have lost their loved ones in the massacre have descended on Marikana on the chance of a job opening at the mine, most to no avail.

Marikana is calling for decisive leadership, not more police boots on the ground.

We owe it to those who died there to turn the decay of Marikana around. That done, they would not have died in vain.

Sunday Independent