9 April 2014

South Africa: Marikana Commission, Phase Two - Migrancy


The origins of South Africa's migrant labour system pre-dates the Union, and while dispensations have drastically changed over the years, workers are still coming and going from the rural areas to the mines, with conditions very much the same. As part of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry's look at the broader causes of the 2012 violence, it met on Wednesday to look at the issue of mining and migrancy.

Visit the graves of the Marikana dead and 39 of the 44 people killed in the week to 16 August 2012 lie outside of the North West. You'll find 30 resting places in the Eastern Cape alone.

As part of the Marikana Commission's second phase, tasked with looking at the sociological causes of the violence, the inquiry held a seminar on mining and migrancy on Wednesday at the Wits Club in Johannesburg. Academics, mineworkers, Marikana residents, and members of civil society groups criticised the system of migrant labour, which continues unabated and remains largely unreformed in the democratic era.

Dr Gavin Hartford, who for years has been involved in union negotiations and studies on labour, presented arguments published in his paper "The mining industry and strike wave: What...

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