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Frans Baleni - General Secretary, South African National Union of Mineworkers

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 26 November 2012

It has become known as the 'Marikana massacre', when 34 people were killed as police in South Africa opened fire on striking miners.

For many it had echoes of Sharpeville in 1960, one of the defining events which opened the world's eyes to the consequences of apartheid.

For Frans Baleni, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Marikana is a challenge - not just to his union - but to the whole post-apartheid political system in which the NUM has been a key player.

Eighteen years after black South Africans won legal equality, is the violence evidence that the system has failed all but a tiny political elite?

(Image: Hundreds of people attend a memorial service for the people killed in a wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine. Credit: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/GettyImages)


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