S.Africa’s mine massacre town sees little change three years on – by Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.K. – June 26, 2015)


MARIKANA, South Africa, June 26 (Reuters) – Almost three years after South African police shot 34 striking miners dead outside platinum producer Lonmin’s Marikana mine, little has changed in this hardscrabble town that has become a symbol of post-apartheid hardship and inequities.

Cows and pigs root through litter-strewn dirt roads that snake past corrugated iron shacks – a picture of grinding poverty atop one of the world’s wealthiest mineral deposits.

A long-awaited probe into the slayings, unveiled on Thursday by President Jacob Zuma, found Lonmin “did not respond appropriately” to the escalating violence during a wildcat strike in August of 2012.

Though the report slammed Lonmin for failing to comply with its social and housing obligations, few in Marikana felt it would make much difference.

Labour tensions in South Africa’s mines continue, stemming in part from squalid living conditions that have persisted two decades after the end of apartheid.

“I understand that the report is out but it’s not making me very happy. Nothing has changed here,” said Samkelo Mkhize, 33, a former Lonmin miner.

“People were killed that day, and the government admits that they did something wrong but they don’t act (as if) they will do something to change it,” he said.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, found “Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the Social and Labour Plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources.”

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