Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

South Africa

South Africa



For a United Struggle of all Mine Workers to Win improved Pay and conditions!

Friday 17 August 2012

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) – CWI Nigeria – condemns in strong terms the brutal massacre of striking Lonmin miners. The DSM is the Nigerian sister organization of the DSM in South Africa – both of which are affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

From emerging media reports reaching us, the death toll has risen to 34. This is outright condemnable. We place the responsibility for these killings on the mine company, Lonmin Plc and the government of South Africa. The miners were brutally murdered on Thursday while striking for a raise in wage to N12, 500 a month.

The police have attempted to justify this brutality simply as self defense. We however disagree. This was a premeditated massacre carried out by the South African government on behalf of the platinum multinational, Lonmin Plc and was designed to crush the struggle of the mine workers for higher pay and act as deterrent to the rest of workers of other mines and throughout South Africa.

It is not an accident that the scene of the massacre was a supposed meeting of the aggrieved mine workers with the representatives of the company – Lonmin Plc – whose representatives however failed to show up. Despite all attempts to criminalize them, this gesture shows the disposition of the mine workers to dialogue and Lonmin Plc’s total disregard for them.

The DSM in Nigeria fully supports the demands of the striking Lonmin miners. We demand an open investigation into the massacre by an independent panel of inquiry whose members must include democratically elected representatives of trade unions and pro-working masses organizations.

We demand the immediate fulfillment of all demands of the Lonmin mine workers as well as improved pay and working conditions for all mine workers in South Africa. We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Lonmin mine workers and urge all mine workers to resist all subterfuges and intrigues by the government and mine bosses to divide them.

The strike of the miners has helped to expose the pro-big business bias of the President Jacob Zuma’s government. In this battle we see the mine bosses and the government united to place the burden of the global economic crisis which has affected Lonmin Plc’s profit on the back of half-starved and underpaid mine workers. This is because the South African government, like all governments in Africa and in many parts of the world, is a capitalist government which ultimately serves the interest of the rich and big business. This is why the South African police – a supposed public institution meant to protect the people – felt no scruple about turning its guns on defenseless poor miners whose only grouse is to be paid an equal wage for an equal work.

Against this background, the unity of all mine workers is not only desirable but vital for the struggle. The DSM therefore calls for the united struggle of miners in both the Association of Mine workers and Construction Unions (AMCU) and the National Union of Mine workers (NUM) to fight for improved pay and better working conditions without which it is impossible to defeat the bosses.

The struggle of Lonmin miners for R12, 500 ($1,512) is not only just but also beneficial to all workers and toilers in the deadly mine fields of South Africa. A victory for the striking Lonmin miners will be a victory for all mine workers and all workers in South Africa in general. Therefore all mine workers regardless of the unions they belong to need to actively support this struggle.

There is the need to carry on the struggle to completely defeat the mine bosses and the government whose central agenda is to exploit workers in terms of boom and make them pay when business turns bad. This can only happen with the public ownership and nationalisation of the mines under workers democratic control and management. We call on workers in AMCU and NUM to link to present actions a campaign of rolling mass action for the nationalisation of the mines under workers democratic control and management.

We call on the trade unions, civil society and pro-masses organizations in South Africa to urgently organize a national general strike to condemn and fight against this scandalous and barbaric action of the South African police acting on the authority of mine bosses and the government which is reminiscent of the dark days of apartheid era. We also call on Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and industrial unions in Nigeria as well as pro-labour organisations to initiate various actions in solidarity with the South African miners including protest at the South African embassy.

Segun Sango
General Secretary