From Lonhro to Lonmin – the British colonial state’s deadly extractivism

Lonmin AGM 2018 Marikana16 March 2018. The AGM of Lonmin Plc in London yesterday was met with angry protests as three delegates from Marikana in South Africa addressed crowds before attending the meeting. Families and victims of the Marikana massacre, in which 34  platinum miners were shot dead by private security and police while on strike in 2012, still have no apology, no compensation and no justice.

At a public meeting later that day, the delegates – Jo Seoka, retired Bishop of Pretoria; Thumeka Magwangqana from Marikana women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke (“We cry together“); and Andries Nkome, the attorney 275 arrested and injured miners – described in detail the chilling events of the massacre, and the traumatised and impoverished state of the community today.

The Farlam Commission into the killings have now proven that orders to take drastic action against the striking miners came from government level, including from Lonmin Non-Executive director and 20% shareholder Cyril Ramaphosa, who is now President of South Africa. Platoons of heavily armed police were ordered to the strike with a number of mortuary vans instead of ambulances, showing that there was calculated intent was to kill large numbers of people. Razor wire was spread out around the miners to prevent them from running into the townships, and instead funnel them into the line of fire.

Lonmin AGM 2018 MarikanaMarikana workers were striking over pay and conditions in the mud drenched shack settlement where they live beside the mine. Their demands for proper housing led to a $150 million grant to Lonmin from the World Bank to build 5,500 homes in 2007, but only 3 were ever built. This is the level of disdain this criminal British company has for its black work-force.

Marikana Grieves, London Thieves!

The Marikana situation has enormous historical and colonial relevance which puts London firmly in the frame. Lonmin started its life as the mining subsidiary of Lonhro – London Rhodesia Land and Mining Company – set up in 1909 to plunder Southern Africa. In the 1960’s Lonhro became hated throughout Africa for the corrupt dealings of its Chief Executive Tiny Rowland, making abusive deals with newly independent States. Lonmin, a British company, is now declaring bankruptcy and is in the process of selling to another firm: Sibanye-Stillwater. The company has $150 million debt, lent by ten banks, four of which are UK based (HSBC, LLoyds, RBS and Standard Chartered). So, after Lonmin raked in profits at the community’s expense, it is the City of London and its banks who ultimately gain from Marikana’s misery.

As many speakers last night pointed out, very little has changed in this so-called post-colonial and post-apatheid era.

More information at Marikana Support Campaign: http://www.marikanajustice.co.za/

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