S. African priests call for more respect for life

September 3, 2012

Six Pretoria-based priests and a doctor expressed concern that violence is becoming commonplace in South Africa and urged a campaign to re-emphasize the sanctity of human life.

"We can no longer hide behind our violent past, however true that may have been," they said, noting that until South Africa's first multiracial election in 1994, "most of the deaths of black people were linked to resistance against apartheid rule, yet today the violence happens in a country that has the best constitution in the world."

In an Aug. 23 statement, the priests warned that the violence at a platinum mine in Marikana captured the country's imagination because of its magnitude.

At the Marikana mine, 34 people died and 78 were injured Aug. 16 when police opened fire on striking miners who, armed with machetes and homemade spears, who were protesting low wages and poor working conditions.