Marikana miners’ lives remain the same

By Drum Digital
17 August 2016

The Marikana miners said their lives have not changed since the wage strike that left 44 people dead in 2012.

By Nomzamo Ngcobo

Speaking to DRUM from the koppie in Marikana outside Rustenburg in the North West, miner Tsoeu Motsoeneng said the working conditions are fine but they have not received the amount that they were demanding. He joined other miners to commemorate that tragic day four years ago.

He added: “In 2013, we got an increase of R1 000. Our employer was supposed to give us another increase in three years but he doesn’t want to. Instead of giving us another R1 000, he is offering R650, which we are not happy about. But we don’t know if the employer wants us to go to the mountain [to protest] again before he can give us a raise.”

Tsoeu, however, said the was about remembering their fallen fellow miners.

“The police are around and we are hoping to have good day,” he added.

Addressing thousands of people at the koppie, miner Ntandazo Nokhamba’s widow, Nosakhe, said they feel like a joke and they feel as if their husbands are regarded at ants or dogs.

“We never asked for our husbands to die. If there was a white person among the people who died, this mountain would be respected.”

She acknowledged that Lonmin has employed them and that the mine is paying their children’s school fees. “But it is not enough. Our children don’t have school uniforms,” she said.

Nosakhe also said they have not received the R12 500 that their husbands died fighting for.

Tuesday marked four years since the miners were gunned down by the police at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana. Between 10 August and 20 September 2012, miners laid down their tools to protest for salary increases – they demanded R12 500 per month. The police and the mine security were deployed to the koppie where the strike took place and the of the 44 people who died in total, 41 of them were striking mineworkers killed by the police.

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