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Implications of South Africa’s Unprecedented Mining Massacre

Posted: 28th August 2012
By: MUNISH WALTHER-PURI
Implications of South Africa’s Unprecedented Mining Massacre

Although August in South Africa is a time of perennial protests over provision of basic services, over two weeks ago, there were deadly clashes in which security forces fired on striking miners, resulted in scores of fatalities. The protest-turned-massacre rocked the country, as well as its growing labor movement and critical mining sector.

A few days earlier, two rival trade unions clashed at a mine in the Northwest Province. Using Recorded Future, we can see that prior to the August 16th massacre, while there was unrest forecast for August, it was mostly related to political events in the Western Cape — challenging the ruling Democratic Alliance — as well as in anticipation of the African National Congress’ (ANC) conference in December.

South African Protests Before August 16th

Predictably, when the August 16th clashes took place, the picture of protests in August changed remarkably to reflect the shift in momentum for that event.

One of the key actors, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), as garnered attention, accused by some of trying to leverage the current public focus on labor issues in mines to further its advocacy agenda. Specifically, outspoken ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, continues to stir emotions with strong rhetoric. This network map helps provide a diagram of the players surrounding the AMCU, and offers pathways for unpacking and exploring relationships with other entities.

AMCU Network Map, August 2012

As South Africa’s “strike season” traditionally extends through the end of August, it will be worth tracking not only what is expected for the rest of the month, but which events were unanticipated. Uncertainty, fast-moving political situations require savvy , sophisticated analysis, sound methodologies, and robust analytical tools — such as Recorded Future.

Munish Walther-Puri

Munish Walther-Puri is a guest blogger for Recorded Future who specializes in geopolitical intelligence analysis. Follow Munish on LinkedIn.