Workers disunited, Marikana results!

With all due respect to the Judge Farlam Report released recently on the Marikana massacre, the Alfa and the Omega of the resultant massacre was the Lonmin workers disunity. Marikana workers deserve the indictment.

Had the workers stayed as one at NUM or become one at the new AMCU, the massacre wouldn’t have happened. Workers failed to heed the clarion call: “Workers (of the world) unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!” Marikana massacre of the new era is contrasted ironically with the Sharpeville massacre of the ancient regime. Unfair comparison. The Sharpeville massacre occurred because, though black workers were united against the pass laws, in terms of the euphemistically named ‘Industrial Reconciliation Act’ those who carried the hated passes were by definition, not workers! Legal analysts, who avow that the law is an ass, probably have the apartheid laws in mind. Of course we have philosophers, who say the law is like piecrust to be broken. One can’t eat pie without breaking the crust. Thus good and bad laws are equally broken. Sharpeville and Marikana massacres however happened during different eras, hence the incompatibility of the comparisons. 

The new South Africa has conceived an ideal mechanism one can imagine by the formation of NEDLAC, the apparatus made up of government, workers and employers representatives. This structure is an ideal body to resolve tensions, frictions and fallouts, that crop up from time to time bedeviling good government-employer-worker relations. Within this structure, every element that embodies sources of recurrent sour relations can be addressed. That the mechanism flopped at Lonmin, Marikana wasn’t for lack of trying by political authorities, but due to the fact that the company botched the process and workers unfortunately fragmented, failed to see the wood for the trees. Otherwise political authorities’ attempt is almost impeccable.

Editor's Comment
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