The communities of Wonderkop and Nkaneng in Marikana on the platinum belt want to see changes in their socio-economic conditions after Wednesday’s general elections.
They say for years they have not benefited from the mining companies’ corporate social investments, and are hoping that the sixth government will push mines to bring developments in their areas of residence.
Marikana – once a battle field between aggrieved mine workers and the police and where 44 people lost their lives in August 2012 in pursuit of better wages and living conditions.
Although tensions have since subsided, the living conditions have yet to change as residents expressed during the provincial government’s recent visit.
A community member says, “So many people in this area don’t have jobs, they are struggling. We are pleading with the government to assist, together with the mines. As we head to elections, we know that promises have been made and we are still waiting to see changes, but we’d like to see those changes even after the elections.”
“We don’t have roads, water, electricity and jobs,” adds another resident.
On the streets of Marikana, there are muddy and dusty roads, dilapidated shacks and flowing sewer are a regular sight. The provincial government agrees that residents deserve better.
North West premier, Professor Job Mokgoro, says it is clear that not enough has been done to develop mining communities. Mokgoro says that there are programmes and policies to address mining communities.
‘There are definitely programmes and policies that address mining communities. Clearly enough has not been done and it’s the responsibility of government to ensure that the necessary actions are taken so that these challenges should be addressed.”
Locals say that it is not government responsibility alone to develop the area. They believe mining companies should also come to the party.
“I’m a married woman. I’m a widow at the same time. The mines have abandoned us. What are they saying about the children of the deceased people that worked here?”