Oakland Solidarity with South African Miners

KPFA Evening News, 08.24.2012

Oakland, California rally in solidarity with South African miners, Oscar Grant Plaza, 08.23.2012.


Oakland rally in solidarity with South African miners, August 23, 2012

KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: Yesterday evening, in Oakland’s Oscar Grant Plaza, the gathering place of Occupy Oakland, several hundred people rallied in solidarity with South African miners, more than 40 of whom were massacred by police at the Lonmin Mining Corporation’s platinum mine in Marikana, a rural area northwest of Johannesburg. KPFA’s Ann Garrison attended the rally and has the story.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Labor, Occupy, and Third Party activists spoke to those gathered yesterday evening at Oscar Grant Plaza, many of whom held signs decrying the South African Police violence that left more than 40 South African miners dead by gunfire, many more wounded, and/or facing criminal charges.  

One Occupy Oakland activist said that African National Congress President Jacob Zuma’s promise of an investigation was useless:  

A South African policeman fired through tear gas at the striking mine workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, August 12, 2012.

Occupy Oakland activist: An investigation into this, by the African National Congress, is essentially useless ‘cause if you’ve seen the video, there’s no need to investigate. They used tear gas to put those miners in a position where they could be mowed down.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Some have blamed the South African miners for refusing to back down on their demand, a 200% wage increase, from $500 to $1500/month. However, an analysis of the Lonmin Mining Corporation's numbers on various stock tracking websites suggest that the corporation lost roughly $4.5 billion in shareholder value during the week following the massacre, because managers refused to agree to what would have amounted to 36 million dollars a year in wage increases. If the company agreed, it would lift 3000 miners from extreme poverty to being poor, in a country where the cost of living is similar to that of any Western industrialized nation. Hundreds of photos published online document the miners miserable living conditions, in shacks without electricity or plumbing, and raw sewage from inadequate sanitation facilities overflowing in ditches between them.  

For more on the Marikana mining massacre and its aftermath, tune in to Workweek Radio on the Morning Mix from 8 to 9 am Monday morning, here on KPFA.  

For PacificaKPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison. 


The unidentified journalist who took this photograph wrote, in The Sowetan, that the strike leader in the green blanket spoke with a mighty voice, marshalled his comrades well, maintained discipline, refused to give his name to journalists for lack of trust, and for all that, took a bullet.




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