Uneasy calm at Marikana mine

2012-08-16 19:00

Johannesburg - An uneasy calm returned to Lonmin [JSE:LON] troubled Marikana mine in the North West late on Thursday after a shooting that left at least 18 people dead or wounded.

Paramedics were attending to those who were hit during a shoot-out between striking miners and the police.

Policemen involved in the shooting were returning to their bases as two helicopters circled the area.

The area around a hill where the strikers gathered before the shooting was cordoned off with barbed wire.

Chanting could be heard from an informal settlement near the mine.

It was not clear if the group, who were singing liberation songs, were armed, but police were keeping watch.

A Sapa reporter on the scene counted 18 people lying on the ground.

Ten people, including two security guards and two police officers, had already been killed in violent protests at the mine in the past week.

The shooting erupted when police sought to disperse armed, striking workers who had gathered on a hill, in the area that had already seen 10 deaths in violent protests the past week.

After a call for the miners to disarm themselves, the group - singing and hitting their spears against pangas - starting moving down the hill to a nearby informal settlement.

The police tried to intercept them using water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades.

The workers started running in different directions, some heading for the open veld and others toward the informal settlement.

Who shot first?

The reporter said gunshots could be heard from the police, which lasted for three minutes.

Police on the scene claimed workers shot at them first before they opened fire, but it was not immediately clear who fired the first shots.

Health officials were reviewing information related to casualties from the incident.

Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said by early evening he was reviewing a report on the casualties and would comment later.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks confirmed that their paramedics were at the scene of the shooting.

However, he declined to comment further, citing patient confidentiality as well as an agreement with the SA Police Service.

"It also runs in conjunction with our agreement with the SA Police Service that we do not comment on acts of crime," Wicks said.

Police were also not immediately available to comment on the number of dead and wounded.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was on her way to the scene of the incident.

The National Union of Mineworkers, linked to to the violence through a reported rivalry with another union, said the shooting was regrettable.

"We are saddened and regret this further loss of life which has just happened, bringing roughly the total number of deaths to 30," said general secretary Frans Baleni.

"It is extremely regrettable. We hope a full investigation will be done and hope the perpetrators will be brought to book."

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  • ruben.maistry - 2012-08-16 19:10

    The begining of a revolution.

      deon.evert - 2012-08-16 20:16

      Indeed Ruben. And I'm afraid that the international community won't find it hard to label this fiasco an abuse of human rights. Renewed sanctions??? I hope not!

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-16 19:11

    I hope the organizers of the strike are happy. Your greed has meant that many families will be even poorer and without a breadwinner.

      Olusunne - 2012-08-16 19:25

      Dialogue would have been better than violence.RIP those whose lost their life.

      lownabester - 2012-08-16 19:25

      Squeegee, 100% spot on, The unions will just shrug their shoulders, they dont care as long as they get their monthly fees from these miners.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-16 20:03

      @Olsunne - they've been in negotiations for 2 days with both unions and the cops. All negotiations failed and Lonmin and both Unions turned the entire matter over to the police. Please also note, the complete silence from Minister of Mineral Affairs (or any other minister) and of course our Pres. 28 people dead and not one person in govt has an opinion

  • Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-08-16 19:19

    Lull before a tornado?

  • michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 19:20

    just watched the news, shocking to say the least! What did the police expect when they fired tear gas into the middle of 4000 people sitting on a hill, they ran towards them to get away from the gas and then the police oppened fire with live rounds like it was Vietnam, 18 people dead?! Disgusting and amatuer responce by the police. Front page of Reuters, CNN, BBC World, Sky News, AlJazeera. Well done for disgracing our country....

      Hermann - 2012-08-16 20:06

      @Michael - you obviously had not read all the news, or you are a partial believer. Go see my comment above if you are an honest person. The strikers were the first to shoot at the police with live (sharp point) ammunition and those fire arms I bet you were illegal. Get real.

      michael.barns.1 - 2012-08-16 20:45

      since you removed my comment, ill keep it short. The strikers in this instance did not shoot first, the video proves it. Fool

  • sk.malatsi - 2012-08-16 19:20

    why did the police restrict paramedics to speak to the media about the scene? why do the police refuse giving details? my left nut tells me the police are at fault once again and they will only release details of the incident after they are done tempering with the evidence at the scene and threatening witness

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-16 19:28

      According to radio news report, 2 of the cops shot still had their weapons holstered. Person on the scene says the people on the hill fired first then the cops retaliated with tear gas and then finally weapons. So who knows? Situations like this always end up with three versions - one for each side and somewhere in between, the truth

      Bheki Mpofu - 2012-08-16 19:29

      Spear,Riah Phiyega will issue out a statement as she is the only person jurisdicted to do so.Don't be cynical.

      Hermann - 2012-08-16 20:07

      you obviously had not read all the news, or you are a partial believer. Go see my comment above if you are an honest person. The strikers were the first to shoot at the police with live (sharp point) ammunition and those fire arms I bet you were illegal. Get real.

  • Thalente.sithole - 2012-08-16 19:20

    Yooo! I do understand dat da police have to protect themselves! But here??????

      thammy.nkosi - 2012-08-16 19:25

      What about the police mans n a securty who died n the family . Policemans are ppl who also need to go home n kiss the babies gudnyt n c them grow so if someone try to take dat away from by shotting them the must shot back

  • Bheki Mpofu - 2012-08-16 19:22

    Boys,if you don't behave you'll die.SA police epitomise US cops,they shoot to kill.

      eddie.shabela - 2012-08-16 19:38

      non sense

      Bheki Mpofu - 2012-08-16 20:22

      Eddie,fools seldom differ.Stupidity is something secret,you'll be foolish and stupid to have your dogma resonate with that of the miners.

  • lownabester - 2012-08-16 19:23

    As jy nie wil hoor nie, moet jy voel.

  • morapedi.tshwarelo - 2012-08-16 19:23

    South Africa is turning into a living HELL.

  • clinton.harry - 2012-08-16 19:24

    I don't sympathise with murderers!!! I hope NUM is happy at the outcome of their selfishness!! The same miners destroyed my truck and disabled my arm for three months last year!!! Well done to SAPS and National Union of Mineworkers!!!!

      sphelele.genqese - 2012-08-16 19:38

      Its not num its amcu so plz don't try to drag anc to this ndakucela

  • david.thulani.98 - 2012-08-16 19:25

    well,lala ngenxeba kwafelwa emayini,but south african must learn to listen ,leadears of union stated clear ,appealing to workers to disperse ,they did not listen,instead they shoot the police,people must learn to listen ,couse the lòngarm of the law is always there this country we got a very good structures if u wanted to put any opinion,tell me now why these people deny their ledears words ,i use to say history will repeat itself ,and judge us even today people refused to listen,consequnseses of not listening ,

  • veldt66 - 2012-08-16 19:27

    It's even much clearer tonite South Africa is facing the abyss\\\At this very hour I'm sitting in my Irish aptmnt

  • Mbavhalelo - 2012-08-16 19:27

    Majority of u here dont have family members who fell today n u have big mouthes just to talk talk talk, y dont u shut up men. Everything is abt ANC? U are realy senseless. Miners do a dangerous work n dey deserve dat money. U feel u worked ur way up just bcos u had it easy shut up n pray de families of de loved once instead of commenting here as a judge, dont u hv something better 2 say?

      dougbal01 - 2012-08-16 20:22

      That is true they need money, the problem is that they are armed... They should march, strike, stop work and forward their demands without violence.

  • sthembiso.msindo - 2012-08-16 19:27

    It sad bu they asked for it, you can't hold such a big company at ransom, i mean the company is listed in London and US Stock Exchange what were they expecting. I'm sure the order to shoot came from the big wigs, their shares were dropping very fast. They can do this to CPT drug mobs but hey they got nothing to loose there.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 20:15

      Haibo, you at university & you think mine manager gives police ordes... hau?

      dougbal01 - 2012-08-16 20:23

      Dude, these people are also armed...

  • Mbavhalelo - 2012-08-16 19:27

    Majority of u here dont have family members who fell today n u have big mouthes just to talk talk talk, y dont u shut up men. Everything is abt ANC? U are realy senseless. Miners do a dangerous work n dey deserve dat money. U feel u worked ur way up just bcos u had it easy shut up n pray de families of de loved once instead of commenting here as a judge, dont u hv something better 2 say?

      veritas.odium.paret - 2012-08-16 19:40

      Yes, but why still bring weapons and be violent even after 10 people had already died? How exactly was that supposed to solve their problems, SCARE THE MINE INTO GIVING THEM MORE MONEY? 'cause, last time I checked, robbers are the ones who demand something with threats of harm.

  • kgomotso.nthoroane - 2012-08-16 19:29

    Its so suprising to see that non of government officials, anc or da leaders has condemn this killings that are happening in marikane mine. Im so disappointed realy.

  • goodguy.buthelezi - 2012-08-16 19:30


      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-08-16 20:23

      Douche Bag! The police didn't kill those people just for the hell of it. It was either them (the terrorists) or the police.

      helen.tshuma.1 - 2012-08-16 20:59

      i agree with u whats wrong with black pple killing one onother like animals cant u just solve a problem without a fight come on pple this has to stop

  • bsompani - 2012-08-16 19:32

    What de police did is wrong how can they shoot 2 kill peoples who do not fight dem.What abt de families of de dead miner i think frm now on de police mst concentrate on catching thieves and leave dose poor miners alone to resolve their issues.

      sphelele.genqese - 2012-08-16 19:45

      Are u bland or something? Did u not see that those people had knives and stuff .....let me ask if I came to u with a knife in my hand run towards u and u had a firearm what would u have done?

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 19:57

      @ sphelele.genqese... this bsompani guy is so stupid he would probably lift his arms & tell you to pick a spot.

      dougbal01 - 2012-08-16 20:25

      They were armed, what is wrong with everyone here who blame the police. They uphold law. A police officer was killed by the same people. They are not that innocent. Why carry weapons if you want to be heard, or you want to threaten people?

  • bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-08-16 19:35

    We have seen it in Ermelo and Ficksburg where the government is killing people who are less armed then the government forces. I have now learnt about the killing of our fathers, brothers who were demanding a leaving wage in the very expensive South Africa that only favours the haves. It seems nobody feel the pain of the black man who remained poor in his land and disposed. The action of the police under what we call "democratic" government is totally unacceptable.

  • deli.mbhele - 2012-08-16 19:35

    People being killed like dogs!shame south africa shame.

      thammy.nkosi - 2012-08-16 19:41

      Police must kill more n more sham what about the police n security they killed fisrt

  • patrickchina.ngene - 2012-08-16 19:36

    shame poor mine workers.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 19:59

      shame poor children whose fathers were MURDERED by these miners.

  • mluleki.duku1 - 2012-08-16 19:41

    This is painful n SA Police Force shud b ashamed of themselves, they used an apartheid style of manning rounds....rubber bullets would done da job. Da operational commander mst account. With these trigger happy berret boys the trust btn saps n community z gone!!

      david.thulani.98 - 2012-08-16 19:55

      i think u misinterpreting things on this matter ,members,or leaders of union tried to convinced their members and there did not listen instead some of them used real round to shoot the police and police bound back ,they no way police could use rubber if people used real round ,tell who must die ,is a police deserve to die ,people must remember live or real round can kill even a police,unless if u do not know ,how the law operate ,and when to shoot ,and why police shoot ,if possible go to yor near library and get the constitution ,read it ,understand it ,do not speak nönsense,things,Police are also human ,they got flesh and blood if someone shoot ,u shoot back that is the story.fiream act states clear.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 20:06

      Miners looked for fight... Miners murder 10 bread winners... Miners find fight... Miners start fight... Police defend themselves... Miners loose fight... Miners realise they picked fight with the wrong guys... Miners wish they never went looking for fight in the first place!

  • jason.simpson.714655 - 2012-08-16 19:47

    Will we get a public holiday for this massacre?

      david.thulani.98 - 2012-08-16 20:01

      i think so (Jason)we get it ,he he he.

  • diran.pillay - 2012-08-16 19:47

    If the protest was peaceful this would of never happened! No one has the right to kill innocent people. No one is above the law.

  • obadia.segwape - 2012-08-16 19:48

    Sad news but they were armed and have being warned

  • dentamokhabz - 2012-08-16 19:50

    The Employer is concerned about the income generated by the mines, but not about the employees. The killing of employees like flies is disgusting to say the least. The employer should have suspended work and reach a solution with the employee. The police are always gonna be involved in a tussle were a solution can be taken into the boardrooms.

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 20:09

      Tell me, how do you negotiate with Mr. Stewpit? 300% increase?????????

  • christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-16 19:54

    Cry our beloved land!

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-08-16 21:04

      Oh wow! - Never hear that one before.

  • jan.chrzciciel.9 - 2012-08-16 19:55

    Obviously Verwoerd was behind this shameful masacre

  • zanele.chili.58 - 2012-08-16 19:55


      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-08-16 21:26


  • vimbai.makaza - 2012-08-16 19:57

    Whats wrong with SA police, actually Zimbabwe is far much better than SA in terms of dealing with such demonstrations, shooting @ ordinary people? what a shame, in zim you find no policeman carrying a pistol or anything that can cause harm to the public,and Zimbabwean police force has been very good when it comes to controlling stricking people, a special force called the Black Boost/ Support Unit is DEPLOYED when solving issues of this kind, these forces can control a mob with button sticks only but not fire arms

      om.nom.nom.01 - 2012-08-16 20:22

      Eish, South African police take it kinda personally when someone shoots at them & charges at them with machetes, wouldn't you?

      tumelo.mabua - 2012-08-16 20:29

      Wrong comparison! You are not forced to comment so don't just comment for the sake of it!

      lebogang.matlala.56 - 2012-08-16 20:38

      its ths ordinary ppl tht ur referring to hu killed two police officers and security guards, shud the police jst stare while ths ppl r shooting at them? y is it tht thy go to strike armed in the first place?

      vimbai.makaza - 2012-08-16 21:16

      the police has killed and its trying to justfy these killings by saying they were defending themselvels... hahhahahah defending themselves from who/what/ ---with all those heavy trucks surrounding the mine workers

  • chamose.charles - 2012-08-16 20:02

    This not far from the situation of the apartheid era,People killed like chickens!I hope the president and the rest of the ministers will sleep well tonight.

  • charles.gregory.7906 - 2012-08-16 20:04

    This is not a racial issue stop trying to make it one these were people with weapons and intent storming the police it was a fair outcome

  • sekwati.robinson - 2012-08-16 20:04

    unions are going to get people killed over and over again...disolve this union nonsense...on the other hand,how can you charge at a person who is holding an assualt rifle?...what an act of stupidity...what happened today should be a hard lesson to all protesters not to take police for granted

  • neville.chamberlain.509 - 2012-08-16 20:14

    How did the unrest at a mine (and being shot at by police) end up as black commentators accusing whites of racism?

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-08-16 20:45

      Same way every issue under the South African sun does. The unquenchable black inferiority complex.

  • tumelorich.seerane - 2012-08-16 20:18

    police used maximum force because their lives were in danger. Atleast no police officer was shot this time.

  • dougbal01 - 2012-08-16 20:21

    First of, i think people should march as it is their democratic right, but to be armed when going to a march and leads to more violence. I am not saying the police did right, but if they were armed, they might say it was self-defense as one police officer was killed by the same people. I am not sure what to think. Stop unions, only the top dogs get richer that is all.

  • john.cryink - 2012-08-16 20:22

    I would not like to be a policeman facing armed strikers. But the chance is good that I would have fired if that crowd threatened my life i can not blame the police

  • MoshKaDeph - 2012-08-16 20:27

    Where is stupid president and his new girlfriend call police commissioner?

  • itse.nnete.1 - 2012-08-16 20:30

    Africa has been both a blessing and curse.A blessing in that it is mineral rich.But a curse in that it's people are exploited and rarely benefit much from it's riches. Today we saw how human life has been so devalued.The raw minerals are worth more than human lives,they know they can easily replace those labourers. I can only feel for the families who have lost loved ones since the begining of the strike.Was it worth it?I can only imagine what it is like for children and wives today waiting anxiously to find out if their husband or father is still alive.I can only imagine what life will be like for those who have lost breadwinners.Was it worth it? The shareholders of the mine in most probability have never laid foot in Marikana.But I bet it will be business as usual in a few days in Lonmin,the tragic losses will be both burried and forgoten.I only ask,was it worth it?

  • - 2012-08-16 20:32

    I listened with great shock to, Num spoke person (Lesiba seshoka)on FM @ 6:15 saying he's very happy with what happened @ Marikana,this stupid as a leader is not even sympathetic with this massacre.! What a disgrace he must be fired ..

  • rasthami.m1 - 2012-08-16 20:35

    Cops don't give a damn about the negro bullet kills a black guy his a hero 2pac said it best for economical gains my people are now objects to be used their lives tagged with a cheap price ,someones husband fell today umama is asking what is going to be of them who's gone put that bread on the table,a brother was lost today ,a son was lost -so shut up if you gone hail cops as heroes - what's gotten into people does any holy spirit live within you

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-08-16 20:38

    The police should have not interfered they should have left the miners to do what they wanted, and if that was to kill each other so be it. I have no sympathy for those killed. and that includes the police as well. If they want to strike, let them sort things out with the mine management and stop interfering

      shabir.ahmed.7796 - 2012-08-17 00:58

      So why do you pay tax then?? The police did their job and it is their duty to intervene!! What a stupid comment!!!

  • - 2012-08-16 20:44

    What I saw today @ marikana was cruel and vicious,police were retaliating to avenge the death of their colleagues nothing more,imagine using six helicopters,shooting continuously without any mercy..

  • malekana.thabo - 2012-08-16 20:52

    Killing people is not a solution, more than 18 people died and injured come on, mineral is more valuable than Human being! Pissed cause it can happen to any one in a work place if things get out of control! Not only @ the mines.

  • malekana.thabo - 2012-08-16 20:53

    Killing people is not a solution, more than 18 people died and injured come on, mineral is more valuable than Human being! Pissed cause it can happen to any one in a work place if things get out of control! Not only @ the mines.

  • Phil.Kleynhans - 2012-08-16 21:01

    How do you handle violence. Give him a kiss on the cheek and say you are sorry or do you shoot him before he shoots you. Now these striker are barbaric. They kill for no reason all. So kill them because there is a reason

  • ellkass.jim - 2012-08-16 21:19

    let de police perform their duties , if there is a need to shoot, then what, if they dont shoot, then they 're going to be shot, they're always in possession of firearm, for what then? nothing personal bt de truth\imagination\ (if u were police official in such situation) those armed strikers deserve life rounds, i said! They 're ready to kill or die, then let them die.

  • Donna.Hornby48 - 2012-08-16 21:39

    This is like Sharpville but in a democracy? How did this happen? And why do so many people think strikers asking for increases deserve to be shot, and why do the media think the shares tumbling is the story. Where did we lose our ability as a country to see right and wrong? Surely the state has no right (except maybe in a war) to kill citizens.

  • hlakanang.mashigo - 2012-08-17 01:27

    The day of sorrow.

  • stefan.f.molenaar - 2012-08-17 07:01

    Where is our President? Silence from our leaders in not what i needed right now.

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