The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
CAPE TOWN — Any South African interested in their future should take time out to read the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (AMCU’s) Marikana Massacre Five-Year commemoration booklet. It graphically illustrates what happens to a collective that gets too comfortable and too close to those who own the means of production. Poverty and injustice make you hardcore. So, when the striking rebel Rock Drillers Association, RDO, whose members earned a measly R5000 per month on back-breaking quota-driven shifts, skirted an unresponsive Numsa and went straight to Lonmin management to air their grievances, the die was tragically cast. The toxic mix of being ‘’sold out’’ by their own union, an unyielding management and trigger-happy mine security, lit the fuse. Two security guards were gruesomely killed while again trying to stop workers from tabling their grievances with management and Numsa. The next day striking workers headed to the Karee shaft to confront ‘’scab’’ workers, but ran into the police; two cops and two workers died. These six deaths are what an apologetic Ramaphosa said was behind his urging more forceful containment and/or action. What followed was the fateful August 16th razor wire containment and confrontation where 112 workers were shot by police and 34 killed on the bloodied Marikana koppie. Today AMCU has 80% of the Lonmin workers signed up – Numsa is a spent force. The lessons for an ANC which has collectively and corruptly cosied up to capital and increasingly ignores its electorate are brutal and stark. Nobody at Marikana has seen a cent of the promised R1.17bn compensation and nobody’s been charged, yet. Not a single ANC leader dares address Marikana workers today. Time to catch a wake-up call. The election train is a-coming… – Chris Bateman