Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

30 July 2014

South Africa: Platinum Future - Provide Dignity, Prevent Strikes

analysis

The platinum strikes may seem a distant memory to those not working in the industry. While the companies figure out how they're going to cover the losses and the high increases, work is underway to address some of the underlying causes of the unrest, such as housing. Little has been done, but this could be the year that changes it all.

Thumeka Maswanoqana stood to tell her story of Wonderkop, Marikana.

"There are no proper structures or buildings. There is no water, no electricity," the Sikala Sonke Women's Organisation member told the Marikana Commission. "People use pit toilets. It is very difficult. When it's raining - as we're in shacks - when it's raining the workers will stand on top of their beds ... These workers work under difficult circumstances, but they are staying in very unbearable places.

"Their lives was supposed to be easy [but] even the people who died during the strike asking for more pay don't have houses," said Maswanoqana, speaking in April at Wits University. "We are living under difficult circumstances. Right now during this strike the poverty in Marikana is very bad."

After this year's five-month strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats),...

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