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In South Africa, August 16, 2012, will be remembered as the date of one of the country's most violent police confrontations since the apartheid era. Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana. The miners were striking to demand a significant pay raise and improved conditions. Officials say that since then, progress has been made: a commission is investigating the incident and the miners have been granted some raises. But, as VOA's Anita Powell learned when she visited the tense community a year later, residents believe things have changed for the worse, not better.
Thousands attend a memorial service at the Marikana mine
in South Africa where 34 striking workers were killed a year ago by police.
Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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By Sapa, 2013-08-16
Chabane Wants Calm During Marikana Anniversary
Minister in the presidency Collins
Chabane called for calm, reconciliation and unity during Friday's commemoration
of the Marikana tragedy.
Minister in the Presidency Collins
"This is a time for pulling together as a nation and working
collectively to ensure that, a year after the tragedy, the events of 2012 do not
revisit the people of Marikana or South Africa as a whole in any shape or form,"
Chabane said in a statement.
Chabane said he was confident the Farlam Commission of Inquiry
would get to the bottom of what happened in Marikana last year.
On August 10 last year, Lonmin rockdrillers embarked on an
unprotected strike for a monthly salary of R12,500.
More workers joined the strike and the protesters gathered at a
hill near Nkaneng informal settlement, some carrying weapons, such as pangas,
spears, knobkerries, and iron rods.
On August 16 police trying to disperse and disarm them opened
fire, and 34 people were killed.
Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards,
were killed in strike-related violence the preceding week.
President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission to probe
circumstances around the August 16 shooting.
Commemorations are planned for Friday at the site of the
An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Marikana Tragedy
was also appointed.