S.African media denounce ‘killing field’ at mine
South African media on Friday condemned as a "killing field" the Marikana platinum mine, where dozens of people died as police opened fire on hundreds of workers waging an illegal strike.
“Bloodbath” read the Sowetan’s headline, printed in red under a photo of police walking among six bodies following the shootout.
“This is an abnormal country in which all the fancy laws are enacted and the Constitution is hailed as the best on Earth. All the right noises are made and yet the value of human life, especially that of the African, continues to be meaningless,” it said in a front-page editorial.
“That’s what Marikana means. It has raised this unmitigated crudeness as if to awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking — it has exploded!”
The Times headline blasted “Killing field”, showing pictures of workers brandishing spears and sticks, and then police walking among the bodies.
“Cops go in for the kill,” read the headline in The Star, which gave a first-person account of a worker who was shot in the head, apparently by police.
The weekly Mail & Guardian, which went to press before the killings, warned: “Violence has become (the) modus operandi of such strikes, and Lonmin is no exception.”
Three people died in February when an illegal strike at an Impala Platinum mine sparked similar clashes between rival unions.
The weeklong strike at Marikana left 10 dead before police moved to break up hundreds of armed workers on Thursday. That clash left between 30 and 36 dead, according to police and a union respectively, when police opened fire on the workers.