RHODES Must Fall has taken issue with UCT’s investments in the mining sector, more particularly Lonmin, in light of the Marikana massacre.
Nationwide events were held on Sunday for the anniversary of the massacre, which started as a wildcat strike at a Lonmin mine in the rural village of Marikana, near Rustenburg, and ended after 44 people – 41 of whom were striking miners – were killed by police between August 11 and 16 in 2012.
RMF released a statement yesterday saying UCT was implicated in the massacre.
“Through the legacy of the likes of Cecil John Rhodes, we have endeavoured to dig up the thinly veiled web of wealth, domination and violence that UCT has continuously benefited from since its establishment. UCT has invested millions in mining corporations, in particular Lonmin, through its retirement annuities. This has remained unchanged since the tragedy of Marikana,” RMF spokesperson Wandile Kasibe said.
Kasibe said many UCT graduates are employed by multinational corporations, but are still being “structurally and violently” denied information and history on the university.
“The consequence is the repeated misdirection of potential skill, energy and passion away from the benefit of the majority of South Africans and toward the ends of white monopoly capital.”
RMF has also highlighted that retired judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, is a member of the UCT council.
“This arises firstly out of a conflict of interest, as evidenced by the connections between Lonmin and UCT, but crucially as a response to the conclusions drawn by judge Farlam in his report,” Kasibe said.
In his findings, Farlam had blamed the Marikana massacre on “a disinherited black working class”.
RMF also issued UCT with a list of demands, which includes the renaming of Jameson Memorial Hall to Marikana Memorial Hall.
Other demands include the removal of Farlam from the UCT council; a statement from the vice-chancellor condemning the massacre; and the report and submission of a dossier detailing UCT’s relationship to mining corporations in the country.
UCT spokesperson Pat Lucas said the UCT Retirement Fund holds investments in the mining sector worth more than R201 million – out of a total investment of R3.5 billion. “UCT invests staff contributions on their behalf and according to their instructions. So, these investments are not connected to UCT. The investments include shares in Lonmin worth R9 582 722.”
Lucas said UCT would respond to RMF’s demands in due course and that Farlam had never been involved in UCT’s investments.