Marikana miners still divided and fearful

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WE FIND her walking around the streets of Marikana in the North West province looking too glamorous for a miner in her neat and tidy outfit. She’s off duty though – when she’s at work it’s gumboots and overalls for her.

Until recently it had been five months since she donned her work attire and she, like thousands of miners who have had to cope with hunger and mounting bills during the crippling platinum belt shutdown, is relieved that the strike is over, but locomotive operator Noxolo Mkhize (28)* is also worried – and obviously frightened.

Shifty-eyed and clearly suspicious, she finally agrees to chat to DRUM – but only in the back seat of our car. It would be too dangerous to go to her house, she says. We ask her what’s going on.

“There are members of different unions here,” she says. “You can think you’re praising the union you belong to but end up creating enemies from another union. Then you could find yourself in trouble – or getting killed.”

Amplats employee Binky Moseane was assaulted and killed underground at Khomanani Mine in Rustenburg, an incident that sent shockwaves through the mining community.

Noxolo won’t say which union she belongs to. “I don’t want to die and leave my child,” she says.

Everything she does is for her child, whom she battled to care for during the long strike. “I couldn’t buy warm clothes for my daughter. I also couldn’t pay my accounts but I explained myself to them [creditors] and they understood,” she says.

Read more in DRUM – 10 July, 2014.

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