On 16 August 2012 the summertime sun streamed through the leafy canopy of Green Park and into the windows of the Belgravia headquarters of platinum mine company Lonmin plc. But 5,500 miles away there was a chill in the air as the company’s biggest South African mine became a frenzy of activity.
Striking workers had gathered for the eighth day in a row at the Marikana mine, while media crews watched from nearby. Four thousand rounds of live ammunition were delivered and ambulances rolled ominously into place. As the cameras flashed, Zukiswa Mbombo, police chief of North West province, announced: “Today is D-day: we are ending this matter.”
By nightfall, 34 striking miners had been shot dead and 78 wounded in the bloodiest security crackdown since the end of apartheid.
As the country tried to make sense of the events, blame was apportioned to police, the unions involved and the striking miners themselves.
But 15 months on from the massacre, executives from British-owned Lonmin, which counts the Church of England Commissioners and several UK borough councils among its shareholders, have not yet been called to appear before the official commission of inquiry into the massacre.
For more on this story, visit: Questions raised about role of British company in South African mining massacre | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.