Auckland protest against South Africa shooting
Saturday 18 Aug 2012 4:29 p.m.
By Jane Luscombe
Protesters have attacked the South African consulate building in Auckland in response to the shooting dead of 34 striking mineworkers.
They used paint bombs to splatter the walls and windows and stuck a letter on the door for South Africa's president Jacob Zuma.
There was little warning of what was to unfold in the genteel suburb of Epsom.
But protestors had a very clear message for South Africa's government: “blood on your hands”.
The paintballs were a vivid symbol of their anger with the ANC. They blame the ruling party for creating the conditions that led to the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers.
“We have turned up here today to send a message of absolute disgust to the South African president, Jacob Zuma, because we hold him responsible for this massacre,” says protester John Minto.
Many of them, including Mr Minto, have seen it all before, protesting against South Africa in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
“We protested vigorously against apartheid only to find economic apartheid has replaced race-based apartheid. So the people of South Africa are no better off.”
Many South African women would agree. They lost loved ones in Thursday's shooting at the Marikana Mine near Johannesburg and blame the Government.
The killings have brought back the spectre of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when 69 anti-apartheid campaigners were shot and killed.
“I never thought in 2012 we would experience the same massacre under the democratically elected Government by ourselves,” says community leader Daniel Modisenyame. “This is a shame.”
Mr Zuma has ordered a commission of inquiry into the violence at the mine owned by British company Lonmin.
“We have gone through painful moments before and we were able to overcome such challenges,” says the South African president.
One challenge will be sorting the victims from the culprits. Earlier in the week, two police officers were battered to death by strikers and two mine security guards burned alive.
“I want to say we did what we could with what we had on the time we had, but we had the responsibility to protect our members,” says national police commissioner Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega.
Two-hundred-fifty-nine people have been arrested since the strikes began. None of them are police officers.
The protestors face a range of charges from public violence and murder to malicious damage to property.