TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 24, 2012) - A group of trade union, community and international solidarity activists and organizations of good conscience have organized a demonstration for Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 1 pm, outside the consulate of South Africa in Toronto. They are providing the opportunity for people in Toronto to express their outrage and concern about the recent massacre of over thirty striking mineworkers by the police in Marikana, South Africa. The consulate is located at 110 Sheppard Avenue East (at Yonge Street).
These mineworkers were fighting for improved wages that would allow them to meet their basic needs, which are taken for granted by the well-heeled members of South African society. According to Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya of the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity, "The Marikana Massacre is a reminder of the days of the apartheid regime when the killing of Afrikan people was done with impunity. Furthermore, in spite of Afrikan majority rule, the continued exploitation and disregard for the Afrikan working class is the norm in furthering the economic interest of the elite."
The neoliberal economic agenda of paying workers starvation wages is a universal trend as is the case among the mineworkers and other workers in South Africa. The Marikana workers are demanding a minimum monthly wage of R12000 (approximately $1435CAD), which is far from the average white monthly minimum wage of R19000 (approximately $2270CAD). These workers are employed by London-based Lonmin PLC, a profitable company that is the world's third largest producer of platinum and accounts for 12% of the global output of this metal.
Workers in Canada are appalled by the massacre of their counterparts in South Africa. "No country can have a functioning democracy if the rights of workers are not respected as fundamental human rights. All workers must be granted the right to collectively bargain free of intimidation, harassment and violence," said Ontario Federation of Labour President, Sid Ryan. "We are calling on the South African government to protect these fundamental freedoms under the law and ensure that a full and independent investigation is made into all of the killings."
Dr. Martin Luther King said it best about people-to-people solidarity, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
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