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