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1 Year Later, Marikana To Mark Anniversary of Deadly Miner Massacre

1 Year Later, Marikana To Mark Anniversary of Deadly Miner Massacre

It’s been a year since police rained bullets on hundreds of striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, killing 34 in the world’s richest platinum region northwest of Johannesburg.

The massacre brought back bad memories of apartheid brutality, according to a report in GlobalPost. Police opened fire when they claimed they were overwhelmed.

On Friday South Africa will mark a year since the massacre. The tragedy is considered on the same historic level as the 1976 Soweto and 1960 Sharpeville massacres, when black protesters rose against the white-minority government.

Only this time black policemen shot dead black workers, the report said.

President Jacob Zuma appointed a judicial inquiry into the killings shortly after. It was initially given four months to complete its probe.

But after two extensions, it has yet to give any findings and no one has been prosecuted.

Africa’s wealthiest economy has taken a battering with the rand falling 15 percent against the dollar and investors’ confidence has been shaken.

Another legacy of the Marikana tragedy has been the upset of power balance in the mining sector where the militant Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or AMCU, has displaced the largest labor movement, the National Union of Mineworkers or NUM.

Workers live in fear as competition for members between the unions leaves a trail of assassinations.

The once-dominant union is the second-largest partner of Cosatu, the powerful federation allied to the ruling African National Congress.

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“Marikana really exemplified a new era of competitiveness amongst and within trade unions,” said labour analyst Daniel Silke. “It ushered in a new era in which the cohesiveness of Cosatu as a key pillar of the ANC alliance suddenly became tested and strained.”

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa has invited NUM leader Senzeni Zokwana to a memorial service Friday at the scene of last year’s killings. NUM, under fire, has been coy about participating, the report said.