Elizabeth Maubane is angry and hurt. Her brother, a police officer, was one of 10 people killed in the days leading up to the Marikana massacre — and she feels he has been completely overlooked.
On August 16 2012, police killed 34 miners at a Lonmin-owned mine in what was one of the worst protest-linked atrocities in South African history. But at this time of year, when the massacre is commemorated, Maubane feels that her brother and the nine others killed in the days before are just forgotten.
Maubane told TimesLIVE that the fact that the people who died before the shooting are seldom acknowledged made it seem like their lives were not valued.
“It makes me angry. It really pains us, and it really irritates us. I don’t want to lie but I also think it’s because we are the minority and they [the miners] are in the majority. Either way, I don’t think it’s a good thing.”
Maubane’s brother Hendrick Tsietsi Monene was a warrant officer who was part of the public order police unit brought in to quell the situation at the mine. He had been originally stationed at KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga.
He and a colleague were shot dead, allegedly by striking miners. Their own service pistols were used to kill them. This was on August 13 2012, three days before the massacre.
“Nothing is ever said about him and the security guards who died. Nothing. It’s quiet about what happened on the 12th and 13th. It’s always quiet on those days,” said Maubane.
“Those people who were killed before the 16th were brutally killed. Unlike the miners who were shot, some were killed with pangas. With the security guards, some of them were buried without some of their body parts, which were taken by the miners. It pains us.”
Maubane said she was still waiting for justice to take its course. Several of the striking miners, some who had been shot, were arrested and charged for the deaths that occurred. The case is yet to proceed, she said.
She was still battling to come to terms with what unfolded.
“In a democratic world, how do you kill a policeman in full uniform, coming to protect you?” she asked, saying that is exactly what happened to her brother.
“If you were to see the pictures of how those people were killed, that is when you will know the real Marikana.
“I am not saying it was right for those miners to die, but they were shot dead. What about those security guards whose body parts were cut off while they were still alive, and those who were burnt in their cars?”
When Monene died, he left behind five children. The youngest was just four months old.
Maubane said each birthday of the child marked a painful reminder of the years gone by since her brother’s death.
“The child is eight years old now and it’s eight years since my brother died. When he is 20 years old, it will be 20 years since then,” she said.
In the meantime, the family continues to receive support from the police service, which is also putting the children through school.