Living in Marikana: The Story of Our EC Miners

Special Report by Bongani Fuzile and Sino Majangaza

Judge Ian Farlam

IT’S COMPLICATED: Judge Ian Farlam speaks to a patient at Andrew Saffy Memorial hospital who was injured during the strike during the judge’s site inspection as part of the Marikana Judicial Inquiry in North West Province. Picture: LAUREN MULLIGAN

Marikana  families’  anger

EASTERN Cape families who lost loved ones in the six-week long Marikana mining strike have labelled the Marikana Commission of Inquiry “ignorant” and “lacking humanity”.

This was said by family members of the deceased who spoke to the Daily Dispatch yesterday.

Several people told the Dispatch they had since heard they were supposed to be attending the hearings but were never contacted.

They said the commission should have given them an opportunity to hear what had happened, to get the truth and hopefully closure.

However, they allege the inquiry, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, is nothing more than a money-making scheme for high profile lawyers.

Yesterday commission spokesman advocate Kevin Malunga said it was an embarrassment family members were not present. [Read more]

Life goes on for Marikana workers
As Lonmin mine wage talks took place last week, Sino Majangaza was there to capture the images
AS MINEWORKERS waited for an agreement on their wage demands at Lonmin’s Marikana mine last week during the violent strike that left 46 people dead, they tried to retain some degree of normality in their lives.

Life was anything but normal for the residents and mineworkers in Marikana and surrounding areas, as there were daily meetings, addresses by former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and a heavy police presence in the area.

But in between all the madness, they were seen playing cards and chatting while waiting to be briefed by their leaders on the status of the strike and wage negotiations.

It became apparent as the strike went on that many of the mineworkers were from the Eastern Cape and had gone to the North West for work purposes.

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Eastern Cape miners share their stories on camera

Sakhiwo Somayise

Zitha Somi

King Danga


MOURNING THEIR FATHER: Yolokazi Mati and her sister Asisipho Mati kneeling near the grave of their father Thembelakhe Mati – a Lonmin mineworker – during his funeral in Ntabankulu on Saturday. Picture: LULAMILE FENI

‘Forgotten heroes’ left with deep scars

WHILE Lonmin platinum miners celebrated their 22% pay hike, not everyone who participated in the six-week strike action were in a jovial mood.

Hundreds of unemployed young men and women from the Eastern Cape who “assisted” in the strike still have nothing while others paid the ultimate price.

Thembinkosi Gwelani from Lusikisiki had been looking for work at the time of the massacre and lost his life bringing food to the striking miners.

Many of those lucky enough to have made it out alive said they were packing their bags for the Eastern Cape as they saw no future in Marikana.

Unemployed Zitha Soni from Ngqeleni said he was going home.

“This is just a struggle for us here. We were there when these miners were killed, we were there in the meetings they held in Wonderkop Stadium,” he said.

“Now we are just forgotten heroes. Gwelani was shot while sending food to them.” [Read more]

Katiso Masebetsane

Katiso Masebetsane , 22, of Matolweni village

Son takes over where father left off
THABISO Masebetsane, a widower from Matatiele, did not want his three sons to follow in his footsteps and work on the mines as he had done for the past 25 years.

He made a promise that he would send them to school to get a decent education so they could live a better life. [Read more]


Nkaneng, an informal settlement

Pay rise will not change much
LIFE for Lonmin’s Marikana miners is not easy, with many forced to leave allocated mine hostels to save money so they can feed their families.

They instead build shacks near the mine shafts where workers say they save R1850 – an allowance paid out to most of those who do not live in the hostels. [Read more]

King Danga

King Danga , 27, from Herschel in the Eastern Cape

Poverty in E Cape pushes youngster to mines
AT AGE 27, Eastern Cape born King Danga left the dusty town of Herschel near Sterkspruit to look for work on the mines after his fruit and vegetable selling mother died while he was in matric.

The youngster was following in the footsteps of his uncles who had also sought work on the mines when they were young.[Read more]

Sohadi family

Sithembele Sohadi and his family

Strike was ‘fuelled by empty stomachs’
POVERTY is what miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine say led to the fatal strike which resulted in the deaths of 46 people and shocked the nation.

Thousands of mineworkers – and job seekers – took to the streets last month to demand better salaries and better housing conditions as many of them live in squalid corrugated iron shacks.[Read more]


Picture: FILE

We didn’t use muti, say miners
A STORY that striking miners at Marikana had been led to believe they would be invincible thanks to a sangoma’s muti has been rejected as a “myth” by survivors.

Police shot dead 34 miners at the North West mine last month, and blame was quickly put on a sangoma said to have led strikers to believe they were bullet-proof. [Read more]

Thembinkosi Mtsha

Thembinkosi Mtsha, 49, from Lady Frere

Those killed were ‘tired of earning peanuts’
THEMBINKOSI Mtsha left for the mines in the 1980s and after almost three decades of employment, has little to show for it.

Mtsha, now 49, has been working for Lonmin in Marikana for 27 years. His salary goes towards supporting his family and parents. [Read more]

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