“Not a cent for my family and siblings since the strike”

striking workers

AMCU leadership might be unyielding in wage demands and hogging the media limelight with their heroism, but it is the mineworkers who are bearing the brunt, Transform SA discovered on a recent trip to the now desolate Rustenburg mining area. And, for sure, there are untold unintended consequences, resulting from lack of income for the miners.
Acuna* (not his real name), 29, A Xhosa-speaking miner from Eastern Cape who was reluctant to be interviewed, but after some cajoling gave in, revealed that if he had a choice he would have accepted even the slightly lower offer that Amplats had tendered. “I am literally failing to eke a living. A loaf of bread and some soup makes my day. I can’t even borrow from microlenders as I have defaulted on payments….I have burned all the bridges.” He was in the company of a Sotho speaking man he only introduced as ‘my comrade’.
My comrade’s lips were chapped dry, an indication that even a decent meal was a luxury. With an accent that hinted that he was an immigrant from Lesotho, he chirped in, “I have not sent my family and siblings even a rand since January, and I dread responding to their calls or messages. They think I have married someone.”
The situation of the two mirrors the plight of all – if not most of – the 80, 000 miners on strike. With both negotiating parties unwilling to cede ground, it seems the miners might have to endure hardships for some time.

5 thoughts on ““Not a cent for my family and siblings since the strike”

  1. Where is the trust fund that AMCU said they will set up to help the miners? was its not suppose to help miners like these one? The question is who do we blame do we blame AMCU for not accepting the latest offer, or do we blame mine bosses for not giving the miners 12 500 that they are demanding. With no sign of the strike ending anytime soon I guess these miners will have to endure hardships. I just hope will not end up with another Marikana situation.

  2. I do agree with you Daniel on all the points you have highlighted and also asked about. I personally believe that we are headed for another Marikana incident especially now that miner’s are being escorted to work for their own safety. Yes they do deserve their R12500, however at the moment both AMCU and platinum producers’ egos are at work here which is why no progress is being made and thus it’s the workers’ who bear the brunt.

  3. By the look of things the conflict will increase. The SMSes that are sent to individual workers by the companies apparently are not helping either according to Mathunjwa. But really guys all these leaders are gambling with peoples’ lives. I’m sure the first generation of leaders like Tambo, Mandela, Sisulu, Luthuli, Biko would have managed this much better.

  4. Is it me or is our inteligencia mum on this matter. While I agree that the state must play a role in this mining debacle but calling government to intervene is insufficient in my books. I have no doubt that we will see more input once the friction starts. I know the president has commented about the recklessness of AMCU’s leadership but we need a more robust engagement. I like this call for AMCU to listen to its members. Also people are probably just afraid, it’s normal.

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