On June 16 South Africa commemorates Youth Day in honour of the youth of 1976 who were shot and killed by apartheid police during protest. In this op-ed SERI's Maanda Makwarela and Alana Potter reflect on the this tragic chapter in our history and how it mirrors events that took place in Marikana where 34 miners were shot and killed while protesting to demand a living wage and better working conditions.

In the article they argue that "in Marikana, Sharpeville and Soweto, the state failed to recognise the rights and humanity of protesters and then refused to be held accountable for the harm it had caused. In the aftermath of Sharpeville in 1960 and in 1976, the state hunted down protesters and political leaders and deepened its resolve to eradicate dissent.

In the aftermath of Marikana, the state labelled 250 protesters as “criminals” and promptly arrested them. Not a single police officer was arrested or charged. In its failure to take responsibility for its own actions in Marikana, the post-apartheid government was barely distinguishable from its predecessors."

  • Read the full article here.
  • Read more about the Marikana families’ damages claim against the SAPS here.
  • Read the presentations made by the families of the deceased miners before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry here.