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27 Nov 2015 00:00
Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai's documentary on the 2012 Marikana massacre, deals with matters of national interest and should be aired on SABC. (Supplied)
In a tuxedo, director Rehad Desai did not look much like a wild-haired radical when he went on stage in New York this week to receive an International
Emmy for Miners Shot Down, his documentary about the Marikana massacre
The documentary, a powerful work essentially detailing the killings
from the striking miners’ viewpoint, was shown on television in the United
States – hence the Emmy. But it has not been aired on any major South
African channel at all.
Still, Desai and his team were congratulated on the
prize by a spokesperson of the very government implicated in the massacre; it
appeared that the spokesperson, despite his eloquent words on the benefits of
“arts and culture”, had not seen the film.
We, too, congratulate Desai and his team, and we join the chorus in favour
of it being shown on SABC – it is, after all, our national broadcaster and
Miners Shot Down deals with matters of national interest.
But we can also see why the SABC under its present regime will never
show the documentary: it makes ANC leaders, and the ANC government in
general, look bad.
The minister of police was not called to account, nor was the minister of
labour. A commission of inquiry that had looked somewhat hobbled from
the start finally dragged itself to a very wishy-washy conclusion, finding
itself unable to pin much responsibility on anyone – except for Phiyega, who
essentially condemned herself from the stand. It’s as though everyone took
their cue from Cyril Ramaphosa, who had urged strong action against the
Marikana strikers, when he told the commission piously that “we all”, meaning South Africa as a whole, should take responsibility for the “tragedy”.
Let’s say we agree. Okay, Cyril, we are all responsible, not just the capitalists
who own the mine, the police with their heavy weapons, and a state that can’t
sort out or take ownership of the problem. Can we see the documentary now?
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