Supporters of Marikana activist Napoleon Webster will picket outside the Rustenburg Court on Sunday the 16th of April. It will be a hundred days since Webster has been detained without bail.
Webster, along with 12 others, is charged with the mob murder of a man in Marikana West, on 9th December 2016. All men deny involvement in the murder. Several witnesses have testified that Webster was in another part of Marikana when the crime took place. “This case is a shocking example of what people can do with power. We are all worried about Webster and we believe in his cause.” said Masello Motana, one of the picket organizers.
The Marikana Support Campaign has expressed its concern that these arrests are politically motivated, and believe that State resources are being used to intimidate and silence activists based in Marikana, especially Webster who has been very outspoken on the need for justice for the victims of the 2012 Lonmin Marikana Massacre.
Webster says “Ramaphosa must acknowledge that he has blood on his hands in relation to the 2012 Lonmin Marikana Massacre. The media must stop protecting Cyril. The people of Marikana will never forget and forgive his actions”. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was a Director at Lonmin at the time of the massacre.
Webster is also concerned about the terrible living conditions in Marikana which he believes is fuelling community tensions. ‘Lonmin has not honoured its commitments regarding living conditions of mineworkers and the local community as set out in their Social Labour Plan’, Webster says ‘The European owned Tharisa Mine, which works closely with Lonmin displaced a section of the Marikana community for them to conduct mining operations”.
“It is painful to see how the terrible conditions in Marikana, yet companies and politicians involved in the massacre and ongoing denigration of this mining community are being protected” says Webster.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) will be joining the struggle for the release of Webster and will provide pro-bono legal assistance. SERI assisted the families of the deceased at the Lonmin Marikana Massacre in August 2012. EFF member and activist Sbusiso Mkansi who has been at the forefront of the #FreeNapoleonWebster campaign says “we will not stop fighting until Napoleon is free. He is being held for a crime he did not commit”. The picket is expected to begin at 9am on Sunday morning outside the Rustenburg Court.
-Weekly Expose reporter