Target: South African Police Commissioner, Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega
Goal: Hold police force accountable for shooting deaths
During a recent strike at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa, police opened fire killing 12 people and injuring a handful of others. While many eyewitnesses claim that protesters began an assault on police officers, others claim that that the police instigated the violence with water cannons and tear gas. The police ministry in South Africa has so far defended the acts of the police officers, saying that protesters were acting “barbaric” and that some in attendance were heavily armed. A spokesperson for the police also commented on the illegality of the gatherings, and stated that law enforcement officers should do everything in their power to bring the situation under control.
The mine, which is owned by platinum giant Lonmin, has been the center of controversy in recent weeks due to a pay dispute that has turned violent. As a result of the strikes, the company has missed six days of production and will likely end up behind on their normal yearly output.
While competing union groups in the region have heightened tensions in recent months, threats and physical assault towards striking workers is a common occurrence throughout the world. Many have compared the recent treatment of strikers in the region with treatment of those under the apartheid regimes. Because of South Africa’s delicate recent history, it is imperative that authorities in the area work to ensure that all people are safe and protected by the law. Urge Police Commissioner Phiyega to investigate the recent shootings and ensure that South African police are not at fault for the unfortunate fatalities.
Dear Police Commissioner Phiyega,
The recent strike at the Marikana platinum mine has resulted in the unfortunate death of a number of people in recent weeks, and could continue unless workers and employers can reach some compromise. While the strike has been in the news because of its violent nature, it is the police fatalities in particular that many are so concerned about, comparing treatment of modern day protesters to those during the apartheid regimes. While it is likely that police officers acted in accordance with planned policy, a thorough investigation into the recent shootings could help to clear the air of this horrific tragedy.
Protesters throughout the world are often at odds with the police units that are there to ensure the safety of everyone who is present. However, peaceful protest is also a right that people have and needs to be protected as such. That is why we are urging your department to mount an investigation into the recent police shootings at the Marikana mine and ensure that authorities in South Africa are protecting the people they serve.
[Your Name Here]