Marikana: Minister slams social workers

2013-05-02 16:13

Families of miners killed during the Marikana massacre in August last year have told Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini they were barely coping – eight months after their loved ones had died.

Dlamini was in Nyandeni Great Place in Libode, Eastern Cape, today where she met some of the families of the Marikana victims.

Widows, mothers and brothers of the dead miners told of their anguish at the lack of intervention from either government or Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer.

Nolundi Tukuza (35) is the second wife of her late husband, Mphangeli.

They have five children together and her late husband has two with his first wife.

They live on social grants, as there is no one working at home.

“My husband was the provider. Life has been very tough without him. I always get very sad on his payday because I know if he was still around we would be better off,” she said.

Speaking while holding a three-month-old baby girl who will never know her father, the widow said she was finding it difficult to cope with the burden of raising the children alone.

Nocingile Sokhanyile, another widow who lost her husband, Phumzile, said they depended on social grants for their five children to survive.

“We are poor. Our lives are constant battles. We just had our home collapse in the recent floods and we have no one to turn to,” she said.

Nokhethile Mvunisi was left to care for their six children when her husband, Mziwoxolo, died in the Marikana miners’ strike conflicts.

She said the only compensation she ever received was from unemployment insurance.

She wants Lonmin to send her children to school, as promised.

She also lives off social grants.

Dlamini was emotional after hearing the stories of the families and lambasted her officials, especially social workers, for not compiling a comprehensive analysis of the families’ circumstances.

She heard some of these things for the first time.

Dlamini told social workers they were not doing their jobs and kicked out two of them who were chatting while she spoke.

“I’m disappointed because I am a social worker myself,” she said, before instructing her director-general to arrange a meeting for May 14 to have a briefing with all families affected by the massacre.

The meeting in Nyandeni today was the first ministerial engagement to take place after the massacre last year and was meant to assess progress on social service interventions and to identify further areas of intervention.

Dlamini was welcomed by Western Pondoland king Ndamase Ndamase, who presented her with a cow.

Dlamini said most of those who had died in Marikana were from Pondoland.

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