Statement of the ANC Youth League on the provisional withdrawal of charges against the Marikana Miners: We remember the Vaal Uprising
The African National Congress Youth League welcomes the provisional withdrawal of charges against the miners of Marikana. Indeed, echoing the sentiments of the Treasurer-General of the ANC, Comrade Matthews Phosa, the arrests and subsequent charging of the miners were devoid of all logic and were simply preposterous given that government, in an attempt to disguise its butchering of civilians, had instituted a Judicial Commission of Enquiry. The charges brought against the miners were meant to unilaterally pre-empt the outcome of such enquiry, which the Congress Youth League had consistently called on all stakeholders to support.
Further, the policemen who gunned down the miners remain loose in society, with, to date, no repercussions for their actions. The National Prosecuting Authority did not act as hastily on the murder charges leveled against them as they did in the case of the miners, again proving the dispensable nature of those who do not have state power in South Africa.
We have consistently drawn parallels between the Marikana Massacre and the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960. On the 3rd September 1984, again the small and forgotten towns of the Vaal gained further notoriety during the Vaal Uprisings, a popular rebellion by the people against illegitimate authorities ruling by decree and suppression. It is clear that the lessons the democratic government has learnt from these uprisings have been few and far between.
The same Doctrine of Common Purpose was used against those who were later to be known as the Sharpeville Six following the uprising 30 years ago to the day. This Doctrine is utilized when groups act together and the perpetrators cannot be singled out or identified. In the case of Marikana, the killers are well known and it is the police. It is against them that the NPA should concern itself with the speedy resolution of their cases.
Once again, no one has taken responsibility and we are coerced into not pointing fingers. Not a single person whether it be Minister or Police Commissioner has been brought to book for the merciless killing of more than three dozen people. As we commemorate the Vaal Uprising today, we trust that government will take heed of the lessons of the past that continue to make themselves felt today.
Men and women who bear the brunt of economic hardship, poverty and inequality will, if not immediately, eventually rise against those authorities who do not act decisively and urgently to confront the challenges facing them; challenges we all know to be poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Statement issued by the African National Congress Youth League, September 3 2012
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