Lonmin failing children of slain miners - Marikana widow

2016-08-17 17:11

Johannesburg – Platinum mining company Lonmin has failed to live up to promises to educate the children of the slain Marikana miners, one of the widows has said.

When schools re-opened in January, Nosakhe Nokhamba and several other Marikana widows were in despair because their children were on the streets, unable to attend school as they had no uniforms. 

"My child told me that her teacher was annoyed with her because she used paper instead of books to take notes in class," Nokhamba said on Tuesday, at the fourth anniversary of the Marikana shooting.

"She told me that she explained to her teacher that she could not afford books because her father was killed in Marikana by the same people who promised to educate her," the widow of mineworker Nyandazo Nokhamba said. 

Nokhamba said this moved her to tears. 

"But today, we heard Mr Nkomo [of Lonmin management] speaking proudly on radio that the mine had ensured that all the victim’s children were in school, yet our kids don’t have uniform.

"They are like sheep waiting to be slaughtered," she said. 

The ANC was party to their suffering and it had made a mockery of their pain, she said. 

"They don’t know where we are, what we do, what we eat, where we live."

'You're lying'

She said suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega was also to blame. 

"We saw how she made light of our husband’s deaths, telling the police not to feel guilty for what they had done. But God is there, he sees all."

Speaking at Tuesday’s event, Lonmin CEO Bennetor Magara said the mine had opened a R6m trust for the 40 employees killed in August 2012. 

Many people in the crowd booed and shouted, "unamanga" (isiZulu for "you're lying"), as he spoke.

He showed no reaction and continued talking. He said he and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa had gone to the Eastern Cape to ensure that the miners’ children were in school.

Police shot dead 34 striking Lonmin miners on August 16, 2012, apparently while trying to disarm and disperse them. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed during the previous week. 

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the violence. Its recommendations included a probe into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office. 

Amnesty International on Monday released a report, stating that Lonmin had failed to deliver on its promises to mineworkers. In 2006, the company had pledged to build 5 500 houses for its workers by 2011. To date, only three show houses had been built. 

 

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