The widows of Marikana still struggling for Justice and Restitution
It is nearly four years since the massacre of mine workers in Marikana and the families of the 34 miners killed have still not received restitution. Justice was meant to be served by the Farlam Commission but its findings blamed the police for pulling the triggers and exonerated the political heads that authorised the violence. Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum mining company that owns the Marikana mine, continues extracting platinum from the ground there while the families of the slain men have been thrown into poverty.
With the help of Khulumani Support Group, the bereaved families of Marikana have taken their case to Germany and other European countries. The German chemical corporation and one of Lonmin’s biggest customers, BASF, claims to uphold its whole value chain to the highest ethical standards. Bishop Jo Seoka was at the annual general meeting of BASF last year to petition shareholders to check the corporation’s continued association with Lonmin.
This year’s AGM of BASF coincides with an exhibition of body maps created by widows of Marikana called Plough back the fruits that is touring Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The paintings and testimonies of the widows are a powerful indictment of corporations that refuse to see just how cheap their investments have made the lives of workers. Screenings of the award-winning documentary about the massacre, Miners Shot Down, accompany the exhibition.