Shot while surrendering: Strikers describe Marikana Scene 2
This article is concerned with the events of 16 August 2012 at the Lonmin Marikana mine in the North West province, when members of the South African Police Service killed 34 people, most of whom were striking mineworkers. These killings, now widely referred to as the Marikana massacre, are regarded not only as a tragedy but also as an event of great significance in South Africa’s contemporary history. A commission of inquiry was held into the killings, but it did not reach any conclusions about what had happened at the second massacre site, commonly referred to as Scene 2, at which 17 of the fatal shootings took place. While these events are now the subject of an investigation by police oversight and criminal justice agencies, we cannot assume that this will reveal the truth about the killings at Scene 2. To add to our understanding of the events at Marikana, this article analyses statements from the injured and arrested strikers taken by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate in the five days immediately after the massacre. This article examines data from the statements, and the circumstances in which these statements were taken, in order to interrogate the assertion that ‘strikers were shot by police while surrendering or injured at Scene 2’.1 It concludes that, taken as a whole, the statements are a reliable source of information that some of the strikers at Scene 2 were indeed shot while surrendering.
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