Our forefathers fought for this land but this government took it from us - Marikana bus driver

2016-07-22 09:57

Rustenburg - William Legale was born and raised in Marikana, Rustenburg, and as he sits on a rock under a tree waiting for his shift as a Lonmin bus driver to begin, he says life in the small mining town has not been good to him.

The 64-year-old says the situation in Marikana has only deteriorated over the years.

"The mine here does nothing for the people that live here. It came and asked our government for permission to do its work here, but has done nothing for the people that are originally from here.

"All it has done is brought us criminals," Legale said.

He said the mine was not doing enough to keep an eye on who was living in the mining compounds and because of this, some of its employees were bringing their relatives to the compounds to look for work opportunities. When these opportunities failed to materialise, they often resorted to crime, Legale said.

"We live in constant fear for our lives; you hear guns going off at night. We used to sleep better back then without any noise from these workers who spend all night in the taverns.

They act like they didn't come here to work, now they drink so much as if they did not have any liquor back where they came from."

'Government holding us back'

Legale said he was disappointed that the government hadn't done more for locals to ensure that they too could benefit from the land.

"Our forefathers fought for this land but this government took it from us and they gave us nothing in return.

"I am trying to improve my life but this government is holding us back. I want better, I want to be breeding livestock and not waking up at 03:00 at this age.

"We send our kids to school but it doesn't help because they don't get work. The mine had said when it first arrived here that it would hire local people who are originally from here, that didn't happen."

His son had finished high school and managed to get a diploma but could not get a job at the mine. Only those who paid bribes were given jobs, he said.

"He isn't working, but I am. He should be taking care of me but he sits at home every day doing nothing. He just keeps looking for work opportunities."

Legale said he was not sure whether he would be voting in the upcoming local government elections on August 3.

(Wim Pretorius, News24)

'I have had enough'

"When politicians are here they act better and tell us nice things. Then we throw our weight behind them, and then after the elections they are gone.

"I have had enough, I have really had enough. I will not throw my weight behind someone who will not help me the next day."

During the 2014 national and provincial elections, the African National Congress got 40%, 44% and 52% of ballots cast in all three voting stations in Marikana.

However, the Economic Freedom Fighters were believed to have gained popularity in the area since then and were expected to be a stronger contender during the upcoming elections.

Election campaigning in Wonderkop, Marikana, was dominated by the EFF with dozens of posters promising to bring people free Wi-Fi, water, electricity and more spacious houses.

Posters by the ANC and the United Democratic Movement were few and far between in the informal settlements, and nowhere to be seen in the compounds. Both parties' election posters had pictures of their respective presidents urging people to vote.

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.

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