Ex-mine workers from Pondoland area of the Eastern Cape, who fled Marikana during the infamous massacre, say they are struggling to make ends meet. The former workers claim they escaped from the mining town following harassment and death threats.
Scores of the ex-miners gathered in Mfenyane village outside Ntabankulu over the weekend to commemorate the massacre, six years after the Marikana tragedy.
The ex-mine workers say they survived violent attacks in Marikana where 44 people including 34 miners perished. Some of them say they do odd jobs in order to put food on the table. Zamile Gasa, a former Marikana mine worker, says they might have survived, but to them it feels like they died along with the deceased during the massacre. He claims to have received threats and decided to come back home, fearing for his life.
“I had rooms to rent but they were thrown out at night and my rooms were set alight. For six months my rooms were empty because people feared to occupy them. Then I gave it away for free. If you recall, as people normally talk about 34 people who lost their live in Lonmin. Myself, personally I know of 44. As I am standing here I am with victims of the attacks. We had people such as Daluvuyo’s, Stellen and Nqetho who perished. It was plenty of them. So, on the 34 people they normally talk about, please add another ten”.
Another ex-mineworker, Mguyelwa Ngozi depends on doing odd jobs for him and his family to survive. He claims he was attacked and when after he reported the incident, the mine management told him that his safety was not guaranteed.
“A mob of people from three different mines came to my house to attack me. They told me this is my last day on earth and they are going to kill me. I locked myself inside the house, they threw stones and fires through the windows and burnt my curtains and some of my blankets. I poured water as I had water from the inside. Government failed me. I laid criminal charges against those people because I saw them but nothing was done. The case just disappeared”.
The Centre for Economic Participation has also promised to train the ex-miners in various skills that include farming, to help them generate sustainable income to support their families.