Nine years after the country’s most brutal lethal use of force at the hands of the South African security forces post-apartheid, the Marikana communities are marching against the mines operating in the area again.
On Thursday the communities marched under the banner of the Marikana Cluster Crisis Movement, with a list of demands, which includes the immediate employment of at least 800 people.
This time they have also vowed to hold the mining companies to their promises, many of which they say were never fulfilled after the initial Marikana protests in 2012.
“We demand that the promises made by these mines in and around Marikana are immediately fulfilled, or at the very least, addressed and that communities are given top priority in terms of meaningful development,” said the movement’s Mfuneko Mtoto.
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He said that the communities in and around the area were still languishing under the boot of oppressive mining magnates, which operate with little to no accountability to anyone but their shareholders.
Mtoto said that the movement will march around the communities submitting complaints to Tharisa, Sibanye, Samancor, Chrome Tech, BapoTrans mining companies.
The movement has also written to Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe requesting his intervention in finding the solutions to squabbles between the companies and communities.
“After 2012, nothing was done to address the problems of criminally inadequate living standards for communities. While mineworkers’ needs were addressed, communities, which bear the brunt of mining operations just as miners do, have been sidelined,” added Mtoto.
He also accused Tharisa of illegally removing graves in the area to make way for operations. He said that the company was planning to add insult to injury, by relocating the community using systems that will demonstrably hurt the community’s wellbeing.
The movement has submitted to the minister of mineral resources a list of demands from the communities, including:
- the promise to provide housing for the community has reneged;
- shares in the mines were promised to the community, yet there has been no indication of this
promise being fulfilled;
- there is a lack of skills transfer for unemployed youth and a lack of job opportunities;
- mining communities have been abandoned by the very mines which have taken control over
the land for their own gain;
- there is no robust social or labour plan for communities.