Talk:Marikana killings

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Severe Bias[edit]

The lead in to this article is brazenly pro NUM. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:4200:1010:3:0:0:0:2 (talk) 10:56, 13 August 2014 (UTC)


Why, in an article about the strike, has the first six days of it been renamed "background"? How about just "beginning of the strike"? Khazar2 (talk) 03:36, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Agree, can't see much opposition to this, will rename it "Initial strike," if someone still has a problem they can feel free to raise that here (or to change the title, some people may prefer "10 August strike"). --Activism1234 04:52, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Nkaneng Hill shooting[edit]

The comments below really are quite a depressing indictment on some wikipedia editors. It is now universally accepted that this was a massacre and yet the first instinct of quite a few editors was to side with the police. The racism that saturates the assumptions of some of the editors below really is very depressing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:4200:1010:3:0:0:0:1 (talk) 10:59, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

The common name being used by South African and international media is "Lonmin Massacre". ShipFan (Talk) 06:10, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this is the name that appears to be gaining ground. I will change it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:35, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

I vehemently oppose the use of the term "massacre". This was not the shooting of innocent people. This was members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) acting in self defence against an armed and violent crowd that had failed to stand down when repeatedly being asked to do so. The armed strikers were shot when charging the lines of police officers. Thesmartstag (talk) 10:29, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Wow. It's great to be speaking to someone who was actually there. What else did you see? Formerip (talk) 10:31, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Are you serious? 2 dead police officers and 9 dead strikers before the shooting on the 16th and you're trying to tell me this was a harmless protest? There are sufficient images, video footage and police accounts of armed strikers. One only has to look at the pictures to see the presence of weapons in the hands of the strikers. Thesmartstag (talk) 10:37, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not trying to tell you anything. I was just assuming that, if you can be so sure about the precise circumstances so soon after the event, with all the contradictory reports coming out, you must have been there. Formerip (talk) 11:21, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Just to get back to the 'Lonmin massacre' term and it's notability. Exactly which quality sources are you referring to? For what it's worth, mainstream South African media such as Independent Online, The New Age, and Media24 have already picked up the term. Sorry! Forgot to sign!KongOlavKonfekt (talk) 11:38, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
AFAICT, there is only one RS coming up on Google News using that term, which is [1]. That itself is ambiguous because there is a difference between "Lonmin masscacre" in a headline and "The Lonmin Massacre" as the common name for an event. It's not enough for us to say that it is yet the commonly accepted name. If, as some later point, a wide range of quality sources from around the world are using that term, then by all means. Formerip (talk) 11:42, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The use of massacre is sensationalist. Massacre also paints the image of the defenseless being slaughtered. These people were not defenseless, they were killed while charging police and they were not innocent, being responsible for the deaths of 8 people (including 2 officers) before the shooting. Shooting in the face of danger was a last resort after teargas, water cannons and reasoning failed. Also in the video and sound clips one can clearly hear police officers shouting cease fire once the crowd is stopped and turns. They attempted to avoid it at all costs but those measures failed and their lives were endangered by a mob that had already been responsible for murder. Thesmartstag (talk) 11:57, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
If one is to Google "Lonmin shooting" numerous articles come up. In fact, I found 197,000 "shooting" articles and only 33,200 "massacre" articles. Thesmartstag (talk) 12:04, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. This one [[2] turns up a few more, though. SmartStag, I get your point, but here I was more interested in what term is actually being used popularly, rather which one we might think is more accurate. Time will tell, I guess! KongOlavKonfekt (talk) 12:17, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
[3] Thesmartstag (talk) 12:20, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
so change to Lonmin shootings, or leave as is? KongOlavKonfekt (talk) 14:06, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I believe Lonmin shootings is the safest option. It is not sensationalist but it is accurate. I have no problem raising the accusations of it being a massacre in the article, as I believe multiple views are crucial, but I do not feel that word should be used as the primary description of events. Thesmartstag (talk) 14:09, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. Lonmin massacre is acceptable per WP:COMMONNAME. That is the name being used by international media and wins the Google test by a large margin. ShipFan (Talk) 14:31, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────FWIW, I get twice the results for "Lonmin shooting"[4] compared to "Lonmin massacre",[5] suggesting most news agencies are still using some variation of the former phrasing. It does appear that the latter is growing in frequency, however. Khazar2 (talk) 14:37, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Try with quotes "Lonmin shootings"[6] vs "Lonmin massacre"[7]. With Gnews it's also overwhelming, shootings[8] vs massacre[9]. Massacre is the logical term to use per WP:COMMONNAME. ShipFan (Talk) 14:51, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Things have changed in 3 days. "Marikana Massacre" is now the most common name being used. It beats every other suggested alternative on the Google test including "Lonmin Massacre". ShipFan (Talk) 06:22, 20 August 2012 (UTC)


The story is still breaking and all sorts of things are not yet clear or are subject to contradictory claims. Last night the death toll was put at 18. Now various official sources are putting it at between 30 and 45. Some of the queries noted in the article will only be able to be answered as more information comes out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Biased tone[edit]

I find this article to be of an incredibly biased tone, especially the section "16 August shootings", which paints the image that the South African Police Service (SAPS) attacked the stiking miners unprovoked. It seems that the SAPS is being blamed for it, yet the article fails to highlight efforts by both the SAPS and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to avert the escalation of violence. In particluar, throughout the 16th the SAPS and SANDF tried to dislodge the strikers from a hillside using teargas & water cannons. There is also no mention of the SAPS attempting to establish a barbed-wire perimeter. Thesmartstag (talk) 10:26, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

If you can provide reliable sources for what you're saying, I think this information would be a great addition to the article. Cheers, Khazar2 (talk) 12:07, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I've built up a library of a number of sources from mainstream South African newspapers that acknowledge non-violent police actions prior to the use of live ammunition. I tried to list the links here but I was blocked by an automated filter. Thesmartstag (talk) 12:54, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Some of them may be from sites that WP autoblocks, which suggests they may not be from the most reliable sources anyway. Would it be possible to choose just your best 4-6 sites to list here? (Best meaning "internationally recognized", if possible). Khazar2 (talk) 13:48, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Never mind--apparently this was a WP-wide problem. Should work now. Khazar2 (talk) 14:08, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
It's fine now, got them through. I added to the article. I would like your opinion on the second paragraph in which I added sourced accounts of the actions of the police in an effort to give the article a neutral point of view. Thesmartstag (talk) 14:13, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Thesmartstag, we need to provide an objective overview that incorporates different points of views. Some sources may acknowledge certain things, but others may not. Your recent edit just presented a sanitised pro-police POV, which is not appropriate for WP. At the present time, there is no way we can be sure we have the full picture - our article needs to be written in a way that recognises that people on both sides have an interest, in this type of situation, of not telling the story honestly. Formerip (talk) 14:14, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I was simply attempting to provide an account of non-violent attempts by the SAPS to de-fuse the situation. I find this piece "Later that afternoon, police opened fire on a group of armed strikers who had, according to the South African Police Service, refused a request to disarm and attacked them with various weapons including firearms taken from the two police officers killed earlier in the week." to be an over simplification. It does not indicate that prior to this the police had succeeded in persuading a small part of the group to move away nor does it indicate that the SAPS had attempted to drive the crowd off with tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades prior to shooting. The quote I gave of an interview with a SAPS captain on his assessment of the situation has to be of some significance, no? Thesmartstag (talk) 14:22, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
What your edit did was give a detailed account of events as told by the police, presented it as factual and undisputed and excluded any other point-of-view. We don't know precisely what happened and we must not act as if we do. What we do know, unless we are very naive, is that police, all over the world, very often lie and distort after they shoot people.
What we should do is make sure that we attribute descriptions of the events and avoid giving undue weight to any particular perspective. Formerip (talk) 14:32, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)I agree that the police captain quote seems like a good addition, but also with FormerIP that the phrasing "In an effort to subdue rising tensions, the South African Police Service (SAPS) had made numerous attempts to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff and demanded that the strikers lay their weapons down and disperse, but all efforts at negotiation failed" is a misleading summary of the given source.[10] I suggest that a more neutral and factual phrasing be found. Khazar2 (talk) 14:33, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

There are a number of sources referring to failed negotiation attempts. The article is much improved however, but I would like to see the quote from the police captain inserted. We have quotes - and thus opinion - from a random women affiliated to the miners & politicians but nothing from someone that was directly involved? Thesmartstag (talk) 07:46, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that that quotation should be re-inserted, particularly as balance to the miner's wife quoted here. Khazar2 (talk) 14:38, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Brief reference to negotiation attempts is not a problem, properly sourced and attributed. Formerip (talk) 14:45, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

I re-added Thesmartstag police quote on good-faith attempts to defuse the situation before the incident. Wizzy 14:13, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

POV issues[edit]

I agree with the comment above that the article is starting to suffer from some POV problems, and have tagged it as such. Problems that jump out at me include:

  1. Unambiguously describing the shooting in the lead as "violent political repression" (and linking to it), while the police have made a self-defense claim that they were fired on first.
  2. Adding a non-notable anti-police editorial to external links
  3. Writing a pro-miner version as fact and while using "claimed" for the Congress of South African Trade Unions version (per WP:Words to Avoid, I'm not a big fan of "claimed")
  4. Including a four-sentence, sympathetic sounding quotation from a miner's wife about the strike, but no similar statement from Lonmin.
  5. Mentioning the massacre claim in the lead section without a counterclaim in the same section.

Do these trouble anyone else? If not, I'll remove the tag, but I wanted to raise them for discussion. Hopefully they can be resolved pretty quickly. Khazar2 (talk) 12:16, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Those sound like reasonable concerns, although on (3) I think the wording needs, in all cases, to be clear that what we have is claim and counter-claim, not facts on the one hand and claims on the other (i.e. in a funny way I actually think "claimed" might be appropriate).
Regarding the miner's wife quote, I would much prefer to balance this than remove it.
Counter-claim to massacre: only if such exists, which I wouldn't necessarily expect. Formerip (talk) 12:22, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the claim and counterclaim part--all parties here should be labelled as "claims" (unless unambiguously supported by reliable sources, of course) or none should. As for the lead, what concerns me is that there appears to be a counter-narrative here--miners with machetes, firing on police, and the police firing back in self-defense--that's not being mentioned along with the "massacre" version, which makes the lead incomplete (and selectively incomplete). Khazar2 (talk) 12:28, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I was prevented by a filter from removing the external links. Who designs this crap? Formerip (talk) 12:54, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Just had the same thing happen to me, this time the filter blocked me from adding a link. Thesmartstag (talk) 12:55, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
From removing them? That's really bizarre. Khazar2 (talk) 13:49, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Apparently someone was messing with the software and blocked all WP edits for a period. Formerip (talk) 13:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I heard it was a mistake. Anyway, do these issues still apply now (I'm back online)? --Activism1234 15:03, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd say so, except 4. I looked for a quote from Lomnin and added what I found but it wasn't really balancing. I'd take the view, though, that its a clearly attributed quote and nothing you wouldn't expect a striking miner's wife to say, so I don't think it justifies the tag on its own. Formerip (talk) 15:15, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm fine with the tag being removed if everyone else is. Someone might also drop a note by WP:ITNC saying it's taken care of, if that's the consensus. Khazar2 (talk) 16:11, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. --Activism1234 16:30, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Why were they armed?[edit]

I just saw a video report on Al Jazeera, the shooting and boxing was clear, but they failed to explain why were protesters wielding spears. I find this part of the story important to explain. Mohamed CJ (talk) 13:09, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, as a South African, I can give you some info on that. It's very much a cultural thing. Those spears & sticks (known as knobkerries) you see are traditional South African tribal weapons and it is very common for black South African males to be in possession of them. Nguni stick fighting is still very much a part of Zulu and Xhosa culture (most of the strikers were Xhosa), so that is another reason why the sticks were in abundance. It is not an uncommon sight to see protesters and strikers wielding these during strike actions and protests around the country. The pangas (machete) however are entirely different. That is a weapon frowned upon by the police here. Knobkerries and spears - to a degree - are tolerated due to cultural relevance, but not pangas. It's also important to remember that the vast majority of South Africa's black population is informal and rural, so while it may seem strange to a Westerner/person from a more developed country to see these weapons, in South Africa it is not all too uncommon. I'd imagine that there are tribes in remote parts of the Arab world and Asia that still arm themselves with traditional weapons. Thesmartstag (talk) 07:59, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Presumably it is also a cultural thing for police to be armed. This entire article is dangerously political and liable to POV postings. I recommend extreme caution in adding anything further. (talk) 08:13, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Is it "culture" to kill police? The culture argument is false, since traditional villagers don't carry weapons except in war or hunting, and don't work in mines! These weren't culural artifacts, they were weapons. (talk) 23:19, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
I am NOT justifying the carrying of weapons or the violent behaviour, what I am saying, as a born-and-bred South African citizen, is that it is not uncommon to see these weapons in the hands of protestors and that a weapon such as a fighting stick/knobkerrie is of cultural relevance. Knobkerrie's are carried by rural farmers/herders or elder people while fighting sticks are - obviously - used for stick-fighting, a prevailing cultural activity. I say again, many South Africans live in rural and informal environments so the Western idea of "civilised" urban living does not apply. The majority of miners also come from uneducated backgrounds and rural/informal parts of South Africa. I do not debate that it is dangerous to carry such weapons in a volatile situation but all I was doing was explaining to someone that enquired about it. Thesmartstag (talk) 10:52, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Civilian attack[edit]

I would like to add an infobox to this page, but would like other's opinions before doing so, on whether the infobox should be civilian attack, historical event, or something else. The 1992 Los Angeles riots use civilian attack as the infobox, but perhaps it's different here since they were armed. I don't think that a location map can be used for a historical event infobox though.

--Activism1234 18:18, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

What's a "civilian attack"? Formerip (talk) 18:21, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
It's a certain infobox used to describe attacks on civilian. You can see a full list of infoboxes here. --Activism1234 18:27, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure how those different infoboxes display, but "historical event" seems like the most obviously neutral choice from those titles. Khazar2 (talk) 19:50, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
This is described as the "single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since the end of the apartheid era." Isn't it in fact the single most lethal use of force since Sharpeville in 1960? (talk) 08:15, 21 August 2012 (UTC)


All the major South African media outlets (E-TV, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, Independent Newspapers etc) as well as some very mainstream and every right wing international newspapers (like the Telegraph in the UK) are describing the event at 'a massacre'. At this point it seems to me that choosing not to use this term is in fact a very loaded political choice that puts wikipedia well to the right of the Daily Telegraph....

ZX Dan (talk) 06:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

A massacre implies the unprovoked slaughtering of defenseless and generally peaceful people. Neither term describes the situation or the striking miners. Please read this article from a mainstream South African newspaper that paints a pretty clear picture of the violence these strikers were and are capable of. [11] "They can beat us, kill us and kick and trample on us with their feet, do whatever they want to do, we aren't going to go back to work," he told The Associated Press. "If they employ other people they won't be able to work either. We will stay here and kill them." This was a violent & dangerous mob that was responsible for 6 deaths (including 2 police officers) before the shooting on the 16th. Thesmartstag (talk) 07:39, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
A massacre is the large scale killing of one group by another. The victims don't have to be peaceful and defenceless, for example in the "Massacre of Elphinstone's Army" in 1842. For this article, massacre is an acceptable term per WP:COMMONNAME. ShipFan (Talk) 14:43, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
As per Wikipedia itself; "A massacre is an incident where some group is killed by another, and the perpetrating party are perceived to be in total control of force while the victimized party is perceived to be helpless and/or innocent with regard to any legitimate offense." The SAPS were not in total control of the crowd, the crowd was not innocent (responsible for 6 murders itself and evidence is emerging that individuals fired at the police first). The SAPS were caught in an open area and confronted by a much larger and violent crowd wielding deadly weapons. Contrast this event with the Kent State massacre. Thesmartstag (talk) 06:35, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
How about the Wounded Knee Massacre? On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota [...]. Arided (talk) 11:43, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
And the Milperra massacre. The term massacre is appropriate for this event per WP:COMMONNAME. ShipFan (Talk) 13:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I must object to the statement that choosing not to use the term "massacre" is a political choice or that the political leanings of various newspapers are somehow relevant to determining whether to use the word--I object to the use of the word "massacre" on the grounds that it isn't backed by the usual dictionary definitions (I'm using Merriam-Webster's) and its use implies culpability on the part of the police incident before an inquiry has even been conducted.
Even the newspapers cited as using the phrase "massacre" have been inconsistent in their use of the phrase. For example, on 18 Aug 2012, ZX Dan cited the Mail & Guardian as being an example of the media referring to this as a massacre. Yet, a Mail & Guardian article was published 20 Aug 2012 entitled "Cops 'shouldn't be sorry' about Marikana shooting."
I would also add, since WP:COMMONNAME is being constantly cited as an authority, that the naming standards seem to refer only to article titles, and not subheadings. For example, although "Boston Massacre" is the title of an article, the actual subheading about the events is simply called "Incident." Similarly, the "Milperra Massacre" article's subheading refers to the events as "Battle." The Wounded Knee Massacre article subheading says "Massacre," but that's an accurate use of the word as the accepted facts on that article state that women and children were shot indiscriminately.
Therefore, WP:COMMONNAME would seemingly only be relevant if there were a debate about the title of this article. Since the article is about the strike in general, and not the events on August 16, I don't think there is any debate over what the title should be. If a new article were created solely about the August 16 incident, then there would be a need to decide what the best common name for the article is.
Still on the subject of WP:COMMONNAME, it is not sufficient that a majority of Google results show "massacre" over "shooting." Wikipedia requires that it be "referred to mainly by a single common name, as evidenced through usage in a significant majority of English-language reliable sources."
Firstly, a simple majority is insufficient to meet this test. It must be a "significant majority."
Secondly, counting Google results is insufficient to meet this test, because the fact that something appears as a Google result does not mean that it is a "reliable source." Additionally, sources which use both "shooting" and "massacre" may appear in both searches, as is the case with the Mail & Guardian newspaper.
To get an idea of reliable sources to calculate the existence of a "significant majority," I would say look at the references that have been deemed reliable and relevant enough to appear in the footnotes of the Wiki article. I counted four using "massacre" (one even put the word in quotations such that the news source itself wasn't actually calling it a massacre) in the title and three using "shooting." One more is hardly a "significant majority."
To summarize, WP:COMMONNAME does not seem relevant to the subheading about the shootings within an article which is about the strikes at Lonmin in general, as the COMMONNAME rules refer to article titles. Even if it were to become relevant, there needs to ba significant majority of reliable media reports (counting Google results is insufficient because it doesn't indicate reliability), and a number of the media cited as using the term "massacre" may also be using the term "shooting." I think it will be some time until an accepted phrase has taken over the media.Genealogy123 (talk) 23:40, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The Wounded Knee Massacre shares a similar bond up until the point where it is alleged that four rapid fire guns were used on a camp of women and children and allegations of the hunting down & murder of men, women and children that tried to escape. For that reason that is a more accurate incident of a massacre. This was police, according to them, halting the aggressive advance of an armed and dangerous mob - that had previously been responsible for murder & the detsruction of property - that refused to abide by the rule of law, and once the attack was halted, so too was the firing. The Columbine High School massacre is a clear description of a massacre. I'm surprised that the Aurora shooting has yet to be named a massacre. Thesmartstag (talk) 05:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

A page on its own for the shootings?[edit]

The massacre is now a major international news story. Does it not require a page on its own?

ZX Dan (talk) 06:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Definitely not - that would take the event out of context of the dispute and events that led up to it. Socrates2008 (Talk) 01:33, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a SPLIT as necessary until this article gets excessively long, which hasn't happened yet. Still room for both. Khazar2 (talk) 01:37, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Not necessary. It's not that long yet, and I don't see that much more info being added on the massacre itself, perhaps reactions... If so, it can be split. But not now. --Activism1234 04:19, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Not necessary yet. As the bulk of the article covers the massacre itself and the reaction to it (as does the international media coverage) it could be renamed Marikana massacre (currently redirects) if there is concensus to do so. The "Initial strike and violence" sectino could be rewritten as background and preserve the context. It is likely there will be more info being added on the massacre itself in the future as the President has ordered a "national commission of inquiry". ShipFan (Talk) 06:36, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Page on Wikipedia needed to compare the Marikana Massacre vs Sharpville Massacre[edit]

Wikipedia is know for biast reporting and deleting of information which does not suit ist's biast one-sided agenda.

Biast Wikipedia have no problem dedicating an entire page to the Sharpville massacre:

According to, estimated police killed more than 30 striking platinum miners in the bloodiest security operation since the end of white rule. South African Minister for Safety and Security, Nathi Mthethwa, put the number of dead at "more than 30", while the NUM put the figure at 36. We already have public holiday on the 21 march for human rights I wonder what kind of democracy now will make 16 August second human rights holiday to commemorate Marikana platinum plant killed by police or just remove 12 much seems like there is nothing to celebrate .

The Sharpeville Massacre occurred on 21 March 1960, at the police station in the South African township of Sharpeville in the Transvaal (today part of Gauteng). After a day of demonstrations, at which a crowd of black protesters far outnumbered the police, the South African police opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people. Sources disagree as to the behaviour of the crowd; some state that the crowd were peaceful, while others state that the crowd had been hurling stones at the police, and that the shooting started when the crowd started advancing toward the fence around the police station.

In present day South Africa, 21 March is celebrated as a public holiday to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre and to celebrate South Africa's democratic government enforcing equal human rights.

What is a different between Lonmin Marikana of 16 August 2012 when so called democratic police open fire on the crowd of black protesters killing more 30 people, to the 21 March 1960 Sharpeville township massacre near Johannesburg, when apartheid police opened fire on a crowd of black protesters, killing more than 50 people? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Right now, comparisons between the Marikana shooting and the Sharpeville massacre can easily fit into this article. If it becomes a topic discussed in such depth that we can no longer fit it here, perhaps a WP:SPINOFF article could be created to make the comparison. Khazar2 (talk) 00:23, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The Sharpville massacre occured at a time when the South African police were not equipped or trained to deal with mass protests. There had been several attacks on towns by mobs of armed blacks. The country was facing insurrection. In that context the police firing live ammunition was not unexpected, and the neutrality of the term "massacres" could be questioned - as far as the police were concerned they were acting in self-defence. Certainly if the Sharpville station had been overrrun the police would have been massacred. In this context, Marikana is very similar to Sharpville. Mass protest by mob, some members of whom were armed. A risk of the police being killed. 40 or so protestors killed instead. What differs is that the SAPS is now equipped trained and experienced at dealing with such events. So the culpability of the authorities is greater than it was in 1960. Accordingly if there can be an article on Sharpville, there should be one for the Marikana massacre as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Lonmin Platinum Mining Incident has been merged and redirected[edit]

I have merged much of the content from Lonmin Platinum Mining Incident into this article. There was a huge overlap between the two, with the contents of "Marikana miners' strike" being mostly about the massacre. "Lonmin Platinum Mining Incident" was quite badly sourced in places, so I have not merged some parts which needed better support. The next task is to go through the merged contents and make sure it is actually supported by the sources. Celuici (talk) 09:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Why the eight subsections?[edit]

It seems rather silly to have several subsections in the "Reactions" section consist only one of one sentence, such as the single sentence about miners' families. I'd suggest recombining these in some fashion, unless there are any objections. Khazar2 (talk) 13:31, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Same. NOt sure how to merge it though - maybe something like "South Africa," "Mine owner & families", "Media," & "International." --Activism1234 15:17, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Eyewitness and journalist accounts[edit]

I have a concern that non-eyewitnesses and non-journalists are being implicitly described as eyewitnesses by placing them in the "Eyewitness and journalist accounts" subheading. Specifically, I question this sentence: "Both AMCU and a group of the miners' wives have vigorously disputed the police claim that the strikers shot first."

Firstly, I went through the Mail & Guardian source about the AMCU twice and I could not find anything backing up the claim that they have disputed the police claim. I think it's likely that they disputed the claim, but I don't see anything in the reference to back that.

Secondly, the article from The Guardian about the wives states that the wives deny the miners fired first. However, nothing in the article states that the wives were nearby when the shooting happened. Unless the wives were actually there, which the article does not indicate, they have about as much relevance in being referred to as eyewitnesses as I do. I have no objection to including any grievances from the wives in the "Reactions" section, but I think it's improper to refer to them as eyewitnesses unless a source can be found where they claim to have actually been present at the time of the shootings.

I don't want to change anything up yet because I want to allow people to find a source showing that the AMCU or the wives actually witnessed the shooting. From the current references, the AMCU doesn't even make a claim as to who shot first, and the wives don't appear to have been eyewitnesses to the event.Genealogy123 (talk) 20:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm opposed to those subheadings generally, so I'd be fine with you removing them and better integrating that section; no reason to add our own sub-labels to everything. Given that this is a controversial article getting a lot of attention, I'd also say just go ahead and remove any unsourced information you find, and leave a note here that you've done so. Thanks for checking these. Khazar2 (talk) 21:07, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good. I removed the AMCU and miners' wives sentence for the reasons cited here. I'm open to having them re-added if anyone can provide a source that actually establishes that the AMCU disputed who shot first, or that the miners' wives were actually witnesses to what happened.Genealogy123 (talk) 22:55, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Lonmin ownership error[edit]


I noticed that this article contains a factual error. Full disclosure: I work in Anglo American's communications team.

Lonmin isn’t a subsidiary of Anglo Platinum, as is stated in the first paragraph of this article. Anglo Platinum doesn’t own Lonmin or operate the mine.

Following Wikipedia guidelines , I don’t want to do the edit myself (as I’m affiliated with Anglo American), but wanted to point out the factual error to the community. If someone could correct the article that would be great.

Thanks, Richard731 (talk) 09:17, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

OK done.
If anyone else disagrees, please provide a source. Formerip (talk) 09:20, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Background : SA mining industry, Platinium prices, working conditions[edit]

I found this price index but I´ m not sure its the platinum metal. Someone who understand this stuff can check ? Yug (talk) 15:36, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

It appears to be an ETF whose shares are equal to one tenth of an ounce of platinum. To see the spot price per whole ounce, you can view Kitco's charts here.Genealogy123 (talk) 19:05, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
1. Some newly created account are pushing to delete this background section.
2. Please help to provide more background informations. This social movement have a socio-economic context which is currently missing. Without context, this movement is unexplained and this article is encyclopedically irrelevant. Help welcome. Yug (talk) 20:57, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Record of newly created accounts removing or downgrading the socio-economic background without fair argumentation :
  1. Timet-55 this deletion
  2. Frie2234 this deletion of sourced content
  3. Rgthyyy, 17:11, 24 August 2012.
Please help me to watch out. Yug (talk) 21:08, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
If it's the section called "Platinum exploitation and trade," I agree with its deletion. The reasons I agree are:
  • It talks about the rising price of platinum and points out that there has not been a direct relationship with the standard of living for miners, which necessarily assumes there were increased profits for the companies producing the platinum. However, it does not discuss whether the costs for companies increased in producing the platinum. Wages are not the only costs that a company must pay. It is possible (whether it happened or not, I do not know), that platinum's price rose 400%, wages did not rise, but other costs (fuel, taxes, licenses, shipping, etc) rose such that the mines had a smaller profit at the end of the decade than they did at the beginning. The price of a metal is not necessarily indicative of the company's profits.
  • There are no references in the section where the miners themselves claim that it was the rise in price of platinum that inspired their strike. Instead, the article that was provided as a source has workers complaining about their living conditions. The interviewees made no mention of the rise in platinum being an inspiration for their strikes.
  • The referenced article about the living conditions doesn't actually have any quotes from miners indicating that they went on strike as a result of those living conditions--it is assumed by the reporter who wrote the article. We don't know from the references in this section whether living conditions had anything to do with the strike.
Certainly, there's no problem with stating that living conditions are poor and that's why they went on strike, or that platinum prices went up and that's why they went on strike, but there should be credible sources which establish that those were the reasons. The best source would be interviews with the unions themselves, since it was the unions who actually called the strikes. Another good source would be interviews with the miners. But, if such sources can't be found, I don't think the part about the platinum prices or living conditions should remain, because it would just be an assumption on our part to say that they were the reasons for the strike.Genealogy123 (talk) 20:55, 30 August 2012 (UTC)


1. this could provide more info.Lihaas (talk) 07:25, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

2. Marikana, Sharpeville massacre equal [12] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

3. Why Marikana is our Sharpville

4. Marikana Massacre: All this to Protect an Oligarch?

Article uality[edit]

Just a heads up to someone to keep an eye on this article over he next few months . When the commission reports in January/February and following the reactions/result/consequence we could nominate for GA after a clean up(Lihaas (talk) 22:37, 2 October 2012 (UTC)).

Other protests[edit]

Shouldn't other protests have its own page? This page is way too cluttered and not organised very well... (talk) 17:56, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Seminal event[edit]

I would question whether the strike can be described as "a seminal event in modern South African history". Isn't that is overstating its importance? (talk) 00:58, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

The largest massacre since apartheid in itself warrants being a seminal moment. And shame on you for thinking otherwise.

-G — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:03, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree. absolutely a turning point in Post-Apartheid South Africa.Frombelow (talk) 15:27, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

POV January 2014[edit]

This article is not NPOV for the following reasons:

  1. The notability of events at Marikana (and hence the need for any article at all) is not predicated on the fact that there was a strike. Labour action - especially in mining - has been a continuous feature of South Africa's political economy over the last 5-10 years. It is the deaths of citizens (mineworkers or otherwise) that makes the event notable. This aspect is reinforced by recent (January 2014) killings of protesters at Mothutlung in which SAPS personnel involved at Marikana have been implicated. A trend towards violent police action is emerging. Therefore it is suggested that the entire article be renamed Marikana Killings, as opposed to Massacre which would be NPOV as others have noted above. [1]
  2. Not all significant perspectives on the events have been covered in the article. At the moment the article represents two perspectives quite comprehensively: those of the mining companies and a law and order point of view. This is borne out by the fact that the 16 August shooting section contains subsections for "Police accounts" and "Eyewitness and journalist accounts" but no accounts from the perspective of the mine workers or the unions. This oversight is typical of reportage that uses the positivist lens, in which there is an assumption that the article writer is capable of an objective perspective. Consider for a moment the perspective of a left wing South African periodical, Amandla, aligned with worker and socialist interests: "Perhaps the most important lesson of Marikana is that the state can gun down dozens of black workers with little or no backlash from 'civil society', the judicial system or from within the institutions that supposedly form the bedrock of democracy. What we have instead is the farcical Farlam commission, an obvious attempt to clear the state's role in the massacre and prevent any sort of real investigation into the actions of the police on that day.[2]" What should be considered is not whether communist or socialist perspectives are legitimate but the extent to which their perspectives are part of a complex conflict between the players (private sector, government, and the unions) and identities (race, class and political ideology). Each perspective deserves to be heard.
  3. Finally the article fails to surface two critical contexts that will help the wikipedia user decide for themselves how to interpret the events. The first context relates to the depressed global economy, the failure of broad-based black economic empowerment, unalleviated poverty, high expectations and growing frustration amongst the black working class with a black political overclass perceived to be more interested in personal power than delivery to those they represent. The booing of SA's president Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela's memorial service is a small, related symptom. Without this pressure cooker context the reader might believe that these events were simply a wildcat strike without any rationale when in fact economic disempowerment and dissatisfaction has been growing since 1994. 20 years of simmering anger has now exploded into violence and death. The second context relates to policing methods used to maintain public order in the context of a constitution and constitutional court rulings that guarantee freedom of expression. South Africa has a history of using excessive force to deal with civil disobedience. Ever since the much loathed Internal Stability Unit (the apartheid riot squads) was disbanded, there has been a vacuum where effective, democratic, and pro-constitutional police methods should have been developed. No other liberal democracy has such an atrocious record at handling dissension, but also in no other liberal democracy is there such a lack of awareness on the part of civil society about their rights[3] (s17 of the constitution protects assembly, demonstration, picketing and petitioning[4]) on the one hand and their obligations (to be peaceful and unarmed). The latter clashes with customary forms of showing dissatisfaction to tribal leaders - the volatile and emotional toyi-toyi - married to an unfortunate habit of protest with traditional weapons that goes back to the clashes between mine hostel dwellers (who were mostly Zulu) and township residents (who were mostly Sotho and Tswana) in the near civil war conditions that prevailed on the Reef.

Without addressing these three key areas - deaths, clashing perspectives, and problematic socioeconomic contexts, this article will remain one-dimensional. Consider adding information from [5][6][7][8]--Suidafrikaan (talk) 02:25, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. The article is called miners strike not massacre. Dont see your pov there.
  2. Your absolutely right and it should be in the article. Feel free to add it. ill try to start with the link povided.
  3. youre right for some background context, but also be aware of synthesis. All this empowerment, depressed stuff is general and vague and doesnt pertain to the strike. Working conditions would be more appropriate as one of the main demands (wages). Empowerment is hardly infact. As for "no other liberal democracy~" that is ludicrous. India certainly comes to mind.
Anyhoo, if you feel this is the case then add to it. Ordering others to do it for npov doesnt make it so.Lihaas (talk) 13:40, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. Massacre: The reference to "massacre" relates to a comment on this page that says "I vehemently oppose the use of the term "massacre"..."
  2. Synthesis: Not sure I follow ....
  3. Doesn't pertain: "All this empowerment, depressed stuff is general and vague and doesnt pertain to the strike...". This remark (especially use of the word "stuff" which could convey a sense of worthlessness[9]) could be construed as quite offensive within the ranks of the SA union movement.
  4. Demands: The rolling strikes over the last period in SA have as much to do with altering the dynamics within the tripartite alliance as they have to do with wages, safety and working conditions
  5. Ordering others: The intention was not to order but to comment. The words 'suggest' and 'consider' were used. Hopefully these communicate invitations rather than instructions.
  6. Ludicrous: dictionary meaning of ludicrous is "so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing" synonyms: foolish, idiotic, stupid, inane, silly, asinine, nonsensical; Please comment with the Wikipedia:Civility guidelines in mind. Also, kindly point me to instances where police in a liberal democracy habitually arrive at labour pickets or strikes without any protective gear and no means other than (eg. tear gas, water cannons, and plexiglass shields, etc)[10][11] side-arms[12] and automatic rifles[13][14] to remove people from the area and which culminates in instances where strikers are left dead on the ground. I am not familiar with such labour incidents in India.Suidafrikaan (talk) 01:27, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  1. Thats a talk page comment of an individual it is not the main article page. You cant refactor other peoples' comments, like it or not. Also it seems the word "massacre" comes from a RSs (and really it should suit the labour perspective)
  2. WP:Synthesis
  3. Thats fine. Were not here to take orders or hurt the feeling of people. WP doesnt do that. Again this is the talk page, not the article page.
  4. Well, if you have a source that draws a parallel to the rolling strikes and that of Marikana then add it. Failure to do that indicates either WP:OR or WP:Synthesis
  5. My point was not that you are ordering. My point was that you have the right to be WP:BOLD so go ahead and add content with WP:RS. Dont tag the article waiting for others to do it. If there is a problem with your BOLD edit (which you have a right to do) then we can discuss further to find accomodation.
  6. Okey thats great. But were not in a court of law. There are such instances in India. In recent times we had the Honda factory in Delhi, We had Nandigram violence and Silguri and theres more in the past. Labour antagonism was strong in the USA some 100 years ago. MIner strikes in the UK 30 years ago, etc.Lihaas (talk) 17:40, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Removal of POV-tag[edit]

Please do not remove any of the POV messages which as per the wiki policy [15]"is used to attract other editors to assess and fix neutrality problems". I have replaced it with POV-check which is intended to "request that an article be checked for neutrality".--Suidafrikaan (talk) 01:32, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
What are your issues with neutrality? You have to indicate it on the talk page. Someone wont come by and automatically find what offends you. You wanted the miners' perspective, which was right, and I added it. The other issues pertain to the TALK page and that is not part of the main page.Lihaas (talk) 17:40, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Marikana miners' strike vs Sharpeville massacre[edit]

There should be section in the article comparing the Markina massacre with the [sharpville massacre]. As this is a controversial topic, some persons would like to sensor this information. Information is removed from Wikipedia when it doesn't suite the agenda of some persons, in an attempt to change historical facts and public opinion. Wikipedia is not an Encyclopedia but a propaganda machine which selectively sensors the truth and reality.


>> South African strike hits platinum mines >?? Mining while female: The perils of Marikana>> S Africa police clash with ANC supporters>> Miners rescued after S Africa shaft collapse (Lihaas (talk) 13:31, 23 January 2014 (UTC)).

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