WINDHOEK: A handful of protestors staged a peaceful demonstration in front of the South African Embassy here on Thursday in solidarity with people affected by the killing of mineworkers in South Africa last week.
Thirty-four people were killed and 78 others sustained injuries in clashes with the police at Lonmin’s Marika mine near Rustenburg last Thursday. Prior to this, 10 other people – including two police officers – were killed in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions.
The violence stemmed from a conflict between the National Union of Mineworkers and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).
In a petition handed over to the Economic Counsellor at the South African Embassy, Gareth Rees here, the organiser of the march Harry Boesak said the incident holds important lessons for the Namibian working class, who should realise that the same could happen here.
“We condemn the Marikana massacre and call on the entire Namibian working class to strike in solidarity with the South African working class. Let us unite further across our borders and show our solidarity with the working class all over the southern African region and the rest of the world,” he said.
Boesak stated that Namibian citizens should “remain vigilant about the fact that the real reason for Namibia’s ever-increasing military budget is to protect the elite from the eventual mass uprising of the working class”.
He further stated that the evidence is clear that capitalist governments will never be on the side of the working class, saying this is evident in the fact that South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) government lowered the tax rate for mining companies which operate in that country, such as Anglo-American.
Boesak went on to say that Anglo-American, which has interests in platinum and diamond mining, as well as being a producer of coal and copper, has interests in Namibia, adding that mining companies are “extracting billons from southern Africa every year while people are left to starve, without jobs and homes”.
“Let us not forget that our very own union leaders are co-opted through shares in the same industry disguised under Black Economic Empowerment (BEE),” he added.
Protestors on Thursday carried placards which, amongst others, read “Down with apartheid-style blood repression” and “We support the demands of the Marikana mine workers – a living wage for all”.