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South Africa: Four years after Marikana massacre, 'nothing has changed'

South Africa: Four years after Marikana massacre, 'nothing has changed'

South Africa

Very little seems to have changed four years after South Africa’s Marikana incident which led to the death of about 34 workers of mining giant, lonmin.

The miners were killed during strike actions as they requested higher wages.

Despite a 7 to 8 percent increase in wages many of the miners still complain about poor living conditions.

There is nothing changed. What I can say, it’s worse than ever. Before the massacre, at least, the others were having water

The minimum salary of 840 euros requested in 2012 is not enough in 2016 due to general inflation as well as depreciation of the rand,some miners say.

The fear of being sacked has pushed some of them to change their stance.

“I don’t want strikes anymore. We are hungry and have to accept our conditions and work,” miner, Mohlaudi Mohlaudi said.

A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters party quite popular in the Marikana area, says life for the miners is worse than before.

“There is nothing changed. What I can say, it’s worse than ever. Before the massacre, at least, the others were having water. But now, most of the people there, there’s no water,” Primose Sonti said.

The fall in commodity prices particularly platinum have seen major mining companies laid off workers

A researcher with the Benchmark foundation David van Wyk, said there is simmering tension in the sector and that could lead to another strike.

“The issues that can lead to conflict around mining in this country are immense. And unless the government becomes serious about addressing them, and the industry becomes serious about addressing them, there won’t be stability in this industry. It’s only a matter of time before it breaks out again,” he said
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The miners complain about poor housing with many of them still living in makeshift structures.

But in a letter to Amnesty International, the mining company Lonmin stated that it has allocated some 6.7 million euros to construct houses for close to 13.500 workers.

An amnesty report on Monday however criticized the platinum giant of not building enough decent housing for its workers in the past four years.

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