South Africa Platinum Union to Relaunch Marikana Miner Trust

  • AMCU also starts worker housing project, union president says
  • Families seek memorial, government apology over 2012 killings

The biggest union at South Africa’s platinum mines will relaunch a trust fund for the families of workers at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana operation, where dozens were killed by police during a protest four years ago.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which set up the fund in 2014 with 2 million rand ($150,000), will reopen it as the Marikana Massacre AMCU Trust Fund, with more trustees and a plan to gather more donations, AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa said Monday at a press briefing. It also has started a worker housing project.
In August 2012, violence broke out at Marikana, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, after thousands of rock-drill operators went on strike. Police opened fire, killing 34 people in a single day. Four years on, workers continue to live in squalor, according to Bishop Jo Seoka, a past president of the South African Council of Churches who mediated at the time of the disorder.

The inquiry into the Marikana massacre, known as the Farlam Commission, found that many workers lived in “appalling” informal settlements, which may have contributed to the discontent.

“Very little has happened since 2012,” Seoka said Monday in Johannesburg. The victim’s families are still seeking a memorial to those who died as well as an apology from the government and the company, he said.

Sue Vey, a spokeswoman for Lonmin, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A commemoration ceremony for the victims of the 2012 killings is scheduled for Tuesday.