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Fear and pain still haunts Marikana survivor

By admin
14 August 2013

Marikana - A year after police shot dead 34 strikers and wounded dozens at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, survivor Mancwando Malala is plagued by painful injuries, little money and a fear for his life.

Police opened fire on strikers on 16 August last year after a week of stoppages at the Lonmin mine northwest of Johannesburg. When the dust settled 34 dead bodies lay on the ground, and 78 wounded.

Arrested, released, battling to work because of pain, and lying low as warring unions kill each other's officials, Malala is constantly anxious.

Back in hospital

Malala returned to work in December last year - four months after he was shot in the leg. But last month the pain landed him in hospital again.

After being discharged he now has to undergo physiotherapy. Each time his workmates go underground for their shift, he makes his way to the mine's clinic.

The charges were provisionally dropped, but Malala is anxious that police will come for him again if he says too much about that day.

He uses a false name, and refuses photographs of his house or himself - even with his face hidden. The miner is even too nervous to show his wounds from the shooting in case police, or his enemies, identify him through the subsequent descriptions.

Malala has little faith in an inquiry set up to probe the Marikana shootings and living conditions on the mine. Last month lawyers who represent the wounded miners had to pull out because of lack of funds, which made the commission unbalanced, Malala argued.