Marikana aftermath – Farewell, fallen comrade

2012-09-01 15:57

The funeral of slain miner Van Wyk Sagalala was attended by family, friends, colleagues and Deputy Mineral Resources Minister ­Godfrey Oliphant.

The 60-year-old former mine driver and general hand was buried in his home village of Setlagole, about 70km from the North West capital, Mahikeng.

During his speech, Oliphant ­decried the shooting and hacking of 44 workers, including the 34 miners and another 10 people who were killed during the protest.

He said the government needed to look at getting involved in mines because currently it didn’t have any authority to intervene in how they are managed and operated.

Tebogo Ahitlile, a colleague of Sagalala who also spoke, said it did not matter what happened on that fateful Thursday afternoon or how many miners died, the fact is they still insist on being paid a monthly salary of R12 500.

Sagalala’s children, Buti and David, said although their father did little for them and was not present in their lives, they were happy that he received a proper ­funeral, not a pauper’s burial.

His girlfriend collapsed and had to be treated by paramedics on the scene. She told City Press that they were about to become engaged.

The last time she spoke to him was at 2.45pm the day ­before (on Wednesday) he was killed.

“He told me they were sitting on the mountain and that nothing was happening and that I should phone later to find out what was going on,” she said.

She tried to call later as promised and he did not respond.

She then called the next afternoon but there was no answer – at that time he was already dead.

Speaking on behalf of the Sagalala family, sister-in-law Biki Metswameri said they would miss him terribly.

“He was the only one who really held the family together.”

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