Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity’s General Secretary said at today’s South African Police Service (SAPS) media conference on the violence at Lonmin that the trade union was appalled by the shocking violence that has been raging at the Marikana Mine over the past week. Since last Friday, the tragedy has claimed the lives of around 44 people. Meanwhile, more than 80 persons have been injured in this week’s violence, and 259 demonstrators have been arrested.
Du Plessis stressed that it was a pity that the SAPS’s action yesterday resulted in the loss of life, but added that the police cannot be blamed for acting in self defence against a group of violent protesters who, earlier this week, had killed ten people in a barbaric way.
“The photos and visuals presented at the media conference are shocking and clearly show that the protesters were heavily armed. Two members of the Police Service, who on Monday together with other officers tried to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner, were hacked to death with pangas, shortly after the rioters had agreed to a truce. Meanwhile, Amcu misled the police on Wednesday when it stated that the protesters had agreed to lay down their arms. Clearly, this has not happened and since then, every effort to negotiate with the group, has failed,” Du Plessis says.