I tried to contain myself not to comment on what happened to the miners at Lomnin; but in a democracy everyone is allowed to voice out their concerns even if it means stepping on someones toes.
It upsets me that in a democracy like we have in South Africa people still have to die first to be listened to. Last month 34 people were killed by the “South African” police and over 78 were wounded. Then the same police who killed some of these workers arrested 270 other workers. Preceding weeks we saw 10 more lives lost on those violent
And all of this happens because the workers want to be treated like humans and be paid like humans.
My grandfather was a mine worker before 1994 and was exploited by the capitalist apartheid state that South Africa was. He worked under harsh conditions and according to him no one wanted to do anything about it. In the apartheid government, no voice was given to workers or the trade unions they belonged to.
They were all silenced by the threat of being imprisoned or losing their jobs. So they accepted whatever “BOSS” said or did to them. But never in his life did he think that over 45 lives would be killed by police in a democratic South Africa.
Why in a democracy like ours must we see dead bodies first to listen to workers? Why in a do we see a rise in violent strikes that continue to cripple our economy, our education and put our lives at risk in a democracy?
I’m sure my grandfather smiled on his grave when they announced the 22% pay hike which is close to what the workers demanded. But I’m also sure to him the death of 45 people does not equate to whatever increase Lomnim “BOSSES” can offer.
This is not the democracy our leaders fought and died for. Still, in a democracy core economic workers such as miners who are exploited. Still in a democracy we have strikes from teachers, doctors and in some instances workers from the South African Defence Force. All core important actors in a democracy.
These people should be protected from such harsh conditions and unfair remunerations to foster economic growth, enhance and strengthen our education system and to ensure all citizens get their basic services efficiently.
And before we start blaming and throwing shades to the government; we must also take note of our constitutions in which labour laws are enshrined and ask ourselves if private profit making business respect these laws.
I regard myself as one of the born-free generations but I always ask myself how much freedom I really have. And I ask myself because of what I see happening around me.
I am a 20 year old South African and I haven’t had the opportunity to Vote because of my age. And one day I will not only vote for government but I will in the government and I commit myself into fighting for what is right. I will fight for economic freedom; I will fight for our education; I will fight for jobs and most importantly I will fight for a democracy in which no blood will be shed first for people to be listened to.
I will fight for my country, and I will fight for continent Africa because I believe change begins with me before I blame the government.
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