Marikana – some personal thoughts

Before seeking the opinions of my South African friends, a look at the article in the Independent – possibly the first balanced article on an industrial/political matter I’ve seen.

Sure the attention grabbing headline said “South African police slaughter striking miners after stand-off after standoff” and naturally, prayers go to the dead and their families but the article then went on to give both sides of the argument, which was eyeopening.

Classic case of 19th century Capital v Labour, with 20th century unionism and the nature of the indigenous population thrown in.

In Australia, decades ago, in my socialist days, a friend of our family, a young man, brought back a South African bride and within days, I recall, everyone was horrified at her out-and-out racism about the blacks.   Seems as if her line was that the way they were portrayed in the press as innocent victims was not quite how it was.

No one wanted to know, including me.   One doesn’t criticize a black, full stop – that’s the mantra we were taught.  That was the beginning of the national “sorry” movement.   Then I saw the other side as my political views matured but now, especially in the light of knowing about de Beers and other signed up members of Them, it seems pretty exploitative in those mines.

I’m not going to put it that if you treat people like scum, then they’ll not disappoint you in their behaviour because we’re all pundits in a chair at a distance.   There are many things to ask, for example – if SA is heavily unionized, why?   To line the pockets of union bosses?   And why are unions so powerful, as they were in post-WW2 Britain and Australia?

Seems little doubt the bosses paid one faction to sow unrest, knowing it would cause the trouble it has.   This blog doesn’t go on about blacks, as regulars would know but I’ve had dealings with them at first hand in the past, for some years at that time and though I made friends with many, I have to say they can be … feisty, upset over what we’d think are minor matters.

As for whether I could trust them – I’ll not make comment on that.   There is also the factor that that’s their sole livelihood, and South African industrial relations seem, at this distance, to be stuck in the late 19th century.  Could be wrong of course.

Just sought and am still waiting for the SA opinion to come through to the email.   I’d be interested in your view.  Have a look at this headline:

http://www.fin24.com/Companies/Mining/Uneasy-calm-at-Marikana-mine-20120816

After ten had died in past days and now eighteen – there is calm?   What the hell is going on?

http://www.leader.co.za/article.aspx?s=1&f=1&a=2893

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123800/rape-troubles-nearly-south-africa.aspx

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40F12FB3F5C11738DDDAB0A94D8415B8885F0D3

http://fstimes.co.za/?p=14866

http://www.economist.com/node/587158

http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-trouble-with-guns-sri-lanka-south-africa-ireland

I was going to ask my SA friends why they only came one medal below Ethiopia at the Games, when other Commonwealth nations were far higher up the table but it might not be politik to mention it. Have an idea the answer lies somewhere in the troubles in SA today.

5 Responses to “Marikana – some personal thoughts”

  1. dearieme August 17, 2012 at 08:03 Permalink

    “As for whether I could trust them – I’ll not make comment on that.” You just have.

  2. James Higham August 17, 2012 at 08:16 Permalink

    Yes but I don’t like my conclusions. Something egalitarian inside rails against it.

  3. haiku August 17, 2012 at 11:57 Permalink

    The explanation for ZA’s poor Olympics results is very simple: after deducting the cost of first-class travel for the Olympics administrators there simply isn’t enough left over for sponsoring athletes …

  4. Rossa August 18, 2012 at 08:05 Permalink

    The report about the athletes from Cameroon who ‘disappeared’ while here for the Olympics said there were 6 athletes and 9 officials. Says it all!

  5. haiku August 18, 2012 at 14:58 Permalink

    When I first read ’6 athletes and 9 officials’ the ratio sounded ‘wrong’.

    Then I realised that the phrase should read ’6 athletes and 9 officials [plus the latter's families] …’

    Since ‘the families’ are not accommodated in the Olympic village they must needs make do with nearby luxury hotels …

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