South Africa: ANC government’s cover-up commission on Marikana Massacre reminiscent of apartheid-era commissions

PRETORIA, South Africa — The August 16, 2012 police murders of 34 miners and the wounding of hundreds more at the Lonmin Platinum Mine in Marikana, South Africa laid bare the class character of the government there and its ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

The government of president Jacob Zuma and its ANC ruling party are clearly the African petty bourgeoisie, and they are aligned with and serve the interests of the old white settler colonialist-apartheid regime and white power Western imperialism.

In the aftermath of the Marikana Massacre, the ANC State immediately went into "damage control"� mode. Its first act was to blame the miners themselves for their own murders, thereby shifting blame on the victims and exonerating the ANC police of any wrongdoing or responsibility for their massacre on the koppie (hill) that day.

The Zuma government's next act was to appoint a "commission of inquiry"� to investigate what happened on that fateful August 12 day. Zuma himself handpicked former apartheid-era, retired Supreme Court Judge Ian Farlam to head the commission; now known as the Farlam Commission.

ANC government follows blueprint of apartheid-era massacres

This massacre is reminiscent of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre wherein 69 unarmed anti-Pass Law demonstrators were gunned down by police; or the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprising where hundreds of school children and youth were gun down in demonstrations.

Each of these massacres also had commissions appointed to "investigate" what happened on those fateful days. With respect to Sharpeville, it was not until 1998 that a government sanctioned commission took a position on the Sharpeville Massacre.

At that time, the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that there were "gross human rights violations in that excessive force was unnecessarily used to stop a gathering of unarmed people."� What an understatement!

It was the Sharpeville Massacre and the subsequent mobilizations that led to the imprisonment and eventual death of Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) leader and Africa patriot Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, and the banning of the PAC and the ANC.

The Cillie Commission which was formed by the white settler colonialist regime of John Vorster with apartheid judge Piet Cillie in charge summed up in his more than 1000 page report on the Soweto Insurrection and subsequent police and military murders of children in Soweto that they "were a consequence of apartheid injustice and official bungling,"� according to Pat Tucker (University of KwaZulu-Natal).

But the South African parliament officially shutdown the Cillie Commission in 1980 without the government issuing an official statement one way or the other on the Soweto uprisings.

Now they have given us the Farlam Commission. It should be quite clear by now that these various government sanctioned commissions are put in place as camouflage, as damage control. They make it appear that they are seriously taking on the issue when, in fact, what you have is the government of reaction policing itself.

In the Farlam Commission they were conducting the inquiry by proceeding from the standpoint of finding out who was at fault. That is to say, they frame the narrative as a question: Could the conduct of the miners have caused the police to commit murder?

So what we have here is a neocolonialist State policing its police. The math is easy.

In the end the Zuma-Farlam Commission will rule just like a Museveni Commission in neocolonialist Uganda would rule. The end is predictable: they might sacrifice one or two cops, but they'll conclude that the police in general acted in self-defense.

But this could be the ruling only if the commission is in place to issue a recommendation. The on again, off again functioning of the commission is leaning toward its disbandment prior to a recommendation.

ANC government manufactures evidence

The latest stoppage of the Commission was precisely because of the ANC government's attempt to manufacture evidence that would give the impression that the unarmed African workers were indeed armed.

When the government was caught white-handed fabricating evidence, it immediately stopped the funding of attorneys representing the slain and wounded black workers, thus bringing the work of the Commission to a screeching halt.

Police inconsistencies have been problematic for the ANC government from the beginning.

The police at one time had claimed that they had only fired in self-defense. However, according to Advocate Lesego Mmusi who was representing the injured and slain workers during the proceedings, "They searched them one by one, checking if they were dead. Those who were not dead were shot again."�

To prove their self-defense case, the police had photos showing the bodies of murdered miners armed with guns. However, photos of those same miners' bodies that were taken earlier in the day (shortly after the massacre) show that they were not armed.

None of the African petty bourgeoisie represent the workers interests

So enters the question of the State paying attorneys for the 44 slain and hundreds of wounded African workers at the white owned Marikana Mines.

Former expelled ANC youth leader Julius Malema's group, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), were among the many petty bourgeoisie formations to attack the Zuma ANC government for not subsidizing legal fees for attorney's representing the workers.

A September 11, 2013 article in the Citizen quoted EFF national spokesman Mbuyeseni Ndlozi saying, "The Jacob Zuma government pays for its corrupt president's legal costs that have culminated into millions of rands of taxpayers' money to avoid him going to court on a matter relating to spy tapes.

"This government spends huge amounts of money to guarantee the luxurious comfort of its corrupt Jacob Zuma in the Nkandla Mansion.

"How, in a matter of tragic mass death, with the history we have in this country, can they hesitate and even refuse to pay for legal representation of the poor families to find justice and closure for the deaths of their loved ones?"

However, in this regard, there is an old saying in the African community about "the pot calling the kettle black."

According to a news report from, EFF Commander-in-Chief Malema is certainly playing the part of the pot.

The October 28, 2012 report talking about Malema's arrival to his own fraud trial states, "For a man who faces a multi-million rand rax bill and has had numerous properties seized and sold by the State, Malema arrived in style earlier this morning.

"The back passenger door of a BMW 7 series Malema was driven in, was opened for him. He arrived in court wearing a silver grey suit and red tie."

This affluence is in fact the lifestyle of the petty bourgeoisie neocolonialist leadership of the ANC and the others of the so-called Tripartite Alliance—the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

They are all in bed with white settler neocolonialism and Western imperialism. None of them attack the system of capitalism itself. None of them call for black power to the African working class in still Occupied Azania.

Surely none of them call for the seizure of Lomnin and the rest of our natural resources that are currently owned by foreign and alien white power that is bent on keeping the African economically enslaved.

None of them call on the police and army to turn their guns on white settler colonialism which own more of the land and resources now than they did more than 20 years ago when the African National Congress came to power.

In a press release dated August 6, 2013, here is what the South African Communist Party had to say on the matter as they "welcomed President Jacob Zuma's decision to establish a Commission of Inquiry…by retired judge Ian Farlam with an honourable track record."� They went on to say:

"The tragedy of August 16, 2012 occurred in the contest of chronic levels of sustained violence and lawlessness in the informal settlements of the platinum belt in the weeks and even years preceding August 16. The responsibilities of the state, the mining houses, the established and merging unions, the local municipalities, the traditional leadership structures all need objective and cool-headed examination. The police appear to be demoralized, claiming that their 'hands are tied.'"

This is the sort of double-talk and absolute capitulation to capitalist power that must be overturned in our Azania. But these capitalist roaders, the Tripartite, have always struggled for the interest of the petty bourgeoisie, not for the best interests of the African working class and poor peasantry.

Take a look at former National Union of Mineworkers leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, who now sits on the Board of Directors at Lonmin and was elected Vice President of the ANC at the December 2012 elections.

Ramaphosa is one of the new African billionaires to emerge since the end of so-called apartheid. So of course Ramaphosa will shoot African workers for messing with those white folks' mines.

African revolutionaries must take the lead

That is why genuine African revolutionaries must step forward and reassert leadership over our people and our movement in Occupied Azania.

The Azanian Front of the Africa Revolution must be lead by a conscious African working class that struggles in its own selfish interests and those of the poor peasantry recognizing that this front is but part of a single International African Revolution for the unification and liberation of Africa under an all-African socialist State.

And we do this by grasping and putting into practice the fundamental tenets of African Internationalism, the revolutionary theory of the African working class.

In Chairman Omali Yeshitela's Political Report to the 6th Congress of the African People's Socialist Party, in the section titled Political Theory of African Internationalism, when talking about the state of our movement and organizations, he explains:

"The African National Congress (ANC) is probably the best known of the liberation organizations of the sixties. This is mainly because the struggle against the South African apartheid regime succeeded in winning support from much of the world, and its leader, Nelson Mandela, became the world's most recognized political prisoner.

"Today it is clear to most of the world that the ANC is not fundamentally different from the white nationalist regime it replaced. The only thing that has transpired is that a sector of the African petty bourgeoisie or middle class has been recruited to administer the white capitalist State after direct white rule became untenable.

"Now in South Africa there is settler neocolonialism. Now it is the 'black' government that protects the interests of international capital and the white minority that still owns more than 80 percent of the land, an area four times larger than England and Northern Ireland combined."�

This is the political climate that will greet the Farlam Commission when it finally resumes, reportedly on October 23, 2013.

This is why African revolutionaries in Occupied Azania must build the African Socialist International.

African revolutionaries must first acknowledge that no African anywhere in the world will be free if our struggle is fragmented and confined within the colonialist-defined borders.

These borders that dictate our brothers and sisters in Occupied Azania see our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe as foreigners. The ANC government even deported poor working class Africans who were from Zimbabwe, declaring they are "illegal immigrants."

They do this while always at the beck-and-call of their white colonialist masters, and even made a National Charter and Constitution that guarantees the rights of the whites to exist as exploiters.

African revolutionaries building the African Socialist International in Azania would recognize the oneness of Africans in Azania, Zimbabwe, England, the U.S. and elsewhere and the necessity to unite with African workers everywhere in our own interests.

As part of the process of uniting African workers in revolutionary struggle, the African People's Socialist Party will be convening its Sixth Congress on December 7-11, 2013. We call on all Africans and other freedom and peace loving people to come to St. Petersburg, Florida to attend this historic event.

You can find us on Also available on Uhuru News is the Political Report to the Sixth Congress. I urge you to download and study it now.

All Power to the African Working Class and Poor Peasantry!

Build the African Socialist International!

Forward to the Sixth Party Congress!


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