The new issue of our latest addition to the Page, ‘Disclosure Magazine’ is now out, and we share our Africa feature on the tragic 2012 Marikana Mine Massacre, its connection to Cyril Ramaphosa and what the implications could be for South Africa’s future.
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Africa: South African Deep State-The Marikana Mine Massacre
Shot Dead : Mgcineni Noki ‘The Man With The Green’ Blanket’
Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as the ruling ANC’s president last month was largely greeted with sighs of relief and expressions of joy. Meanwhile, knowing his ascent marks the beginning of the end for President Jacob Zuma’s supremacy, the markets rejoiced and the Rand peaked for the first time in years.
However, jubilation over Ramaphosa’s election obscures a murky past and stormy future. It is unclear exactly what changes Ramaphosa, South Afica’s likely next President will usher in.
But what is certain is that he will not upturn the enduring apartheid structure of the economy – the system through which Ramaphosa made enormous profits and is alleged to have sanctioned murder with impunity.
The source of criticism and caution at unrestrained jubilation at Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascendancy is the 2012 Marikana Mine Massacre.
What happened at Marikana?
In August 2012, workers at the Marikana mine in Rustenburg staged a protest regarding their rights for a pay rise. After a week of demonstrations, the situation spiralled out of control, as police opened fire on the protesting miners, killing 34 of them. It’s a tragedy that has frequently been referred to as the “darkest hour of South Africa’s democracy”.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s role in Marikana
At the time, Cyril was a non-executive director of Lonmin. His company Shanduka was a minority shareholder in Lonmin, so this meant their profits were very much part of his business too.
A series of emails shared between Ramaphosa and Lonmin’s board just a day before the massacre shows how eager he was to end the conflict. However, the language he chose seemed to indicate he favoured a heavy-handed approach.
Ramaphosa demanded that “concomitant action” must be taken against the miners (the action ‘naturally associated’ with a situation like this). He also referred to them as “plainly dastardly criminals”.
He sent his emails on 15 August 2012, just a day before the 34 were gunned down. His choice of language – and subsequent suggestion that then-Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa would be getting involved – has always been a sticking point for his critics.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have both refused to invite Ramaphosa back to Marikana, for memorial services and annual ceremonies to remember the dead.
Cyril has since apologised for the words he used. He has previously stated he heard horror stories of those involved in the protests “hacking others to death”, which prompted him to say what he did.
However, the Farlam Commission, the inquiry into the Marikana massacre, largely exonerated Ramaphosa from wrongdoing.
The report said:
“The Commission is of the view that it cannot be said that Mr Ramaphosa was the ’cause of the massacre’. There is no basis for the commission to find even on a prima facie basis that Mr Ramaphosa is guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.”
The rise and rise of Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa has an illustrious history. During the dark days of apartheid, he was the General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the largest and most militant trade union in South Africa.
His was a guiding hand in the nation’s transition from apartheid to democracy. And he helped negotiate one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. Ramaphosa was hailed as a radical, a revolutionary, a man of principle.
But as South Africa knows today, when apartheid fell, its internal economic architecture remained intact and continues to preserve one of the world’s most unequal societies.
While the majority remained poor, Ramaphosa became one of the most successful beneficiaries of this system. Post-apartheid South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment schemes, meant to redistribute the immense wealth accumulated by the white elite, went no further than to create a black equivalent, with Ramaphosa first among them.
The scheme led him into mining amongst other investments, which eventually made him a multi-millionaire.
It remains a mystery to most South Africans how the Commission did not find anyone responsible for the murder of 34 of their fellow citizens. But amongst ANC voters at least, Ramaphosa seems to have been absolved.
There has been no compensation, improvements in living standards, counselling or healing for the traumatised community of Marikana. Not by Ramaphosa’s Lonmin or his ANC government. The massacred workers, like their grieving families, seem to be vanishing in his shadow.
Ramaphosa & South Africa’s Deep State Trajectory
What will Ramaphosa’s victory at the ANC bring for the majority of poor, black South Africans? If the man sees striking workers as criminals, how will he respond to those still struggling for the right to decent housing, land, public services and education; rights for which the anti-apartheid struggle was fought?
But if Marikana is any measure of the man, what will the price of such resistance be under President Ramaphosa?
The ‘Deep State’ is defined as a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.
The world has already witnessed this in the formation of America’s Military-Industrial Complex which today has led to the Trump Presidency, an event which has re-ignited an unnecessary but very dramatic Post-Cold War global Nuclear Crisis.
Ramaphosa’s feet lie in both Business and Politics, and if Marikana is anything to go by, South Africa has already witnessed in part what can occur when individuals who wield such power exercise it for the benefit of Corporate interests.
Such power if exercised erroneously, as it is alleged to have been in Marikana, then Ramaphosa’s Presidency threatens to place South Africa in a worse position than it was under President Jacob Zuma, because in Ramaphosa lie all the ingredients required to mix a Deep State Cocktail, and plunge South Africa down the path of Corporate Fascism.
The jury’s still out, and one cannot at this stage indict Ramaphosa before he has even completed his own first term as President. Nevertheless, we must not be swayed purely by the ‘markets’, since Ramaphosa’s own proximity and perhaps imprisonment to the market forces of Post-Apartheid South Africa is exactly what makes him a more likely candidate for a Corporate Fascist and Deep State Post-Apartheid South Africa.
A nightmare of State Capture much worse than anything Jacob Zuma could have conceived.
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