Miners Shot Down (85 min) 2014 by Rehad Desai (South Africa)
FilmWorks United International Working Class Film & Video Festival
The president of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), Andrew Chirwa, will be attending the screening and will discuss the meaning of this milestone event for the workers of South Africa.
Miners Shot Down is a powerful new film that tells the story of the organized massacre of 34 unarmed miners by the government of South Africa and the owners of the Lonmin platinum mine, the largest platinum mine in the world.
The film follows the strike during August 2012. From day one, as the miners struggle for justice and human rights, they faced not only a hostile management, but also a government now includes Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the owners of the mine. Currently, he serves as the deputy of the African National Congress (ANC), which runs the government. The film also reveals the National Union of Miners (NUM) to be a company union whose union officials make high salaries, and therefore, argue against the mining company paying a living wage. This film shows the union members trying to negotiate with the company at the same time that the company works with the ANC government to physically destroy the strike movement with armed police attacks and company thugs.
This struggle led to the formation of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which was winning thousands of workers from the NUM.
Desai’s film shows that by mid-morning of August 16, 2012, the AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa saw that hundreds of heavily armed police were arriving and preparing to attack the miners. He urged the miners to return to their homes so they would not be assaulted, but it was too late.
Rehad Desai, the film director, was already in the area prior to the massacre and was able to clearly film the murderous conspiracy between the mine owners and the government to break the strike. This has become a turning point for the working class of South Africa. It raises the question of how a government that they put in power to remove apartheid could end up as a government representing the very bosses and owners that they thought they had defeated.
These events have led to National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) the largest union of South Africa splitting from the ANC and calling for the launch of a working class party. This history in Miners Shot Down documents a crucial turning point for the working people of South Africa.
See also: http://www.der.org/films/filmmakers/rehad-desai.html http://www.africanfilmny.org/2013/rehad-desai/ http://www.laborfest.net/2014/2014Films.htm#f5 http://www.laborfest.net/2014/2014schedule.htm