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Marikana and the hypocrisy of corporate social responsibility

When the mass strike action hit the Rustenberg Platinum belt in August 2012 mainstream South African public was quick to write off the striking miners as an unruly bunch who were ungrateful for their employment and unworthy of the social development that the mining companies were investing into their communities. Indeed this is exactly how it played out even when the deplorable Marikana massacre unfolded, as every day media seemingly fell for the corporate propaganda that Lonmin sold to them about their “constructive and humane” relationship with the community of Wonderkop. This was their endeavour to look like the “good guys” and render invalid any socioeconomic basis for the wave of social unrest that exploded in Marikana in 2012, the resurgence of which we are witnessing this month. What they did, instead of acknowledging the dire social degradation that the workers and their families are forced to endure, was create a scenario in which the miners were portrayed as dangerous potential killers who were out to create political instability in the economy.

But scratch a bit deeper and look back into the history of this country’s economic development, and a very different story unfolds.

There is a plaintive song in workers’ history, sung in sad low masculine tones. The song goes like this, “it is we who built the mines and built the cities and the places where we trade, and now we stand outcast and starving amidst the wonders we have made”.

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This is the story of a South African economy built on the blood sweat and tears of the very people who today, continue to be forced into a form of slavery as they earn wages way below their worth as workers of South Africa’s platinum mines. These are the men and women who are now shot at and brutalised when they rise up to demand a better existence: a lifestyle reflective of the economy that they helped to build.

It was the discovery of diamonds and gold in South Africa that created the pillar on which this land’s modern economy was built. But it was also this discovery that led to the complete fragmentation of the social foundation that indigenous societies in South Africa once enjoyed. While the rapid growth in infrastructure, manufacturing and financial services signalled stupendous good luck and good life for white South Africans, it was quite the opposite for black South Africans.

Many fail to recognise that this is what the contemporary marginalised black population is still reeling from — the bloody exploitation of an entire people at the very beginning of our country’s economy. Since then there has never been a moment to recover from this systemic damage because after colonialism came apartheid, and then a tenuous democracy, all of which have knocked the poor back time and time again.

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As pointed out in the 2007 report from the Bench Marks Foundation on the socioeconomic conditions of mine workers and their families, our economy was, and still is, built on the exploitation and suffering of workers from all over Southern Africa. In the 19th century, cruel legislation forcibly removed people from their lands and entrenched the cheap labour system. This legislative onslaught included the hut tax, land tax, animal tax and labour tax that crippled farm dwellers. Finally the 1913 Land Act forced people to labour in the mines and shattered their autonomy forever.

The 1913 Land Act was pure devastation for black South Africans as entire communities were dislocated and family ties destroyed. Peoples that once depended on an agricultural existence found themselves instead, in bonded labour, forcibly removed from the land, alienated from clan and faced with treacherous working conditions.

Tragically, in a sad twist of incomprehensible fate, nothing has changed for black workers in the current democracy, which coincides with the platinum boom and the race for mining rights from both foreign investors, apartheid investors and even state official investors. The poor just do not stand a chance of recuperation as communities all over the country continue being removed from their lands while mines expand their locations and force people out of agriculturally viable lifestyles into untenable living conditions. These communities are sometimes subtly coerced into living around the mines with promises of work. What they find instead of a better life though, is a life of quiet desperation as they are subjected to the disastrous negative impacts of mining, social degradation and environmental pollution.

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Not that your average outsider would know any of this, so carefully disguised is this reality behind expensive advertorial and green washing campaigns that are the carefully crafted work of corporate social responsibility propaganda machines.

Take Marikana for example. As you drive into Wonderkop, the shantytown that spreads on the outskirts of the Lonmin mines, there is a large billboard with the face of a happy miner in full mining regalia smiling back at the onlooker. The words “Integrity, Honesty, Trust” are displayed on this billboard. One would expect then, that we would find happy miners who are treated with integrity and honesty and that a trusting bond exists between them and their employers.

What we find instead are desperate workers struggling to eke out a living, though they are employed by a multinational mining concern. We find tin shanties tacked together and surrounded by muddy walkways. We find little children playing in this mud and on mounds of waste and litter, because the services are few and far between and neither government nor the corporates have even considered building these children a playground or creche. We find that there are no toilets. We find women who are at the end of their tether because they have to try and feed families of small children whilst unemployed. We find high levels of HIV, though the corporate reports will say that few people suffer from this virus under their watch.

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Life in Wonderkop is hard — much harder than anyone who has not experienced poverty can imagine. It is a surreal medieval landscape dotted with signs of an age of technology in hand-painted cellphone signs that hang lopsidedly off the walls of tacked together wooden slat or corrugated tin shops.

In an interview with John Capel from Bench Marks it is revealed that the mines in the Rustenburg mining belt are poisoning the land and the waters through unchecked polluting and doing very little about cleaning up their mess. Toxic sulphur dioxide leaks spill into the water sources that supply the communities, who then have no choice but to drink and wash from it.

According to the foundation report mines are allowed to emit a whopping 18 tonnes of Co2 from each company into the air, forcing surrounding communities to breathe in this contaminated concoction of mercury laden emissions and dust particles that cause both cancer and respiratory disease. Poisonous slime dams are found close to the settlements too, impacting negatively on the health of the inhabitants.

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The financial pressure that dealing with ill-health puts on these already impoverished communities, pushes them to borrow money from loan sharks at exorbitant interest rates and keeps them in a cycle of debt, poverty and subjugation.

This harsh reality completely contradicts what the mining companies are telling the world they are investing into the communities that live around their operations. They claim, in reports that go out to the world, that they invest plenty into these communities and that they work hard to improve upon their poor environmental track record as they aim to reach a state of zero environmental harm on surrounding settlements.

But says Capel in an interview with SACSIS, these promises often play out as confessions around chemical spills and other environmental transgressions, always with the disclaimer that they plan to fix it all. It is a never-ending confessional as nothing ever seems to improve and not enough pressure from the government is ever exerted onto these companies to clean up their act.

The reality is, according to the Bench Marks report, that these corporates are putting little more than 1% of their profits back into developing these communities or cleaning up their operations, despite what they claim to be doing on paper.

In the meantime the untenable multi-systemic violations perpetrated on communities living close to these wealthy mining operations continue to push a people to breaking point. Their only recourse is often to down tools for up to three days just to get their employers to talk to them.

Though it is clear that these socioeconomic factors are the root cause of strike action and unrest, they are often the most overlooked in the analysis offered on media platforms for why strikes and civil unrest occur. Indeed, even the Farlam Commission’s focus remains on the urgent issue of police brutality against the miners, but seems not to be scrutinising, at all, these indefensible poverty and environmental factors, including unsustainable wages, that ultimately contribute to strike action and instability.

This is a human-rights issue and ought to be tackled as one. While people are being exploited, enslaved and violated with impunity by multinationals and while this is well-hidden behind expedient social investment advertorials and green washing campaigns, human lives will continue to be expendable and worthless to corporations that put profits before people.

It is time for South Africa’s public to look beyond the social responsibility propaganda of big business and join struggling communities in calling for corporate accountability and human rights before profits. We should no longer tolerate the hypocrisy of corporate attempts at social responsibility that claim to save and protect with one hand what the other hand destroys.

(Media for Justice are currently filming a documentary in Marikana looking at the disjuncture between corporate responsibility claims and socioeconomic realities. Watch this space for video clips.)

Sources: SACSIS interview with John Capel of the Bench Marks Foundation.

Bench Marks study released in 2007 and updated in 2011.

Author

  • Feminist, filmmaker, writer, poet, activist and author, Gillian Schutte has a degree in African politics, an MA in Creative Writing and a Film Director's qualification from the Binger Institute, Netherlands. Winner of the Award of Excellence for her documentary entry to the Society for Visual Anthropology Festival in Washington, 2005, and author of the novel After Just Now -- Schutte fearlessly and creatively tackles issues of race, identity, sexuality and social justice in her multimedia work. She is founding member of Media for Justice co-owner of handHeld Films. and co producer of the online Reality TV series The Schutte Singiswas'.

40 Comments

  1. Comrade Koos Comrade Koos 23 May 2013

    I have read every word of this article. It is not only the story of Marikana, but of people in India, Australia, North America, Asia, China, South America and probably to a lesser extent in Western Europe. The Marikana syndrome effects millions of people around the world.

    some editing needed, paragraph starting with “According to the foundation report mines… ” is virtually repeated.

  2. Mine Worker Mine Worker 23 May 2013

    Some relevant statistics, but deliberately and perversely illogical overall. ‘Though it is clear that these socioeconomic factors are the root cause of strike action and unrest’ is the punchline – but not proven in any logical way. Granted, there is great socioeconomic hardship. But the root cause of strike action? Completely unproven. Many who are a bit closer to the reality note that tribalism, the struggle between rival unions, and the manipulation of unsophisticated workers by local crimelords and politicians (usually part of the 3 part alliance, often ANC aligned unions fomenting violence to shore up declining support), and the stirring up of the workers by thuggish union bosses aiming to create violence to support their demands, coupled to brutal police crackdowns from a tribalised (note that word again – deliberately overlooked with deliberate ignorance) police force are the causes of the violence. The poverty was there always. There is much greater poverty in the slums of Calcutta or Launda, but minimal violence. Scapegoating the companies employing these poor workers? A deliberately misleading and disingenuous argument. Intellectually sophisticated – but fundamentally dishonest.

  3. Mr Sarcasm Mr Sarcasm 23 May 2013

    @Mineworker – I am sure all the Marikana mineworkers agree with you. ;-)

    They endorse and support your analysis, yes. ;-)

    You are totally honest, yes. ;-)

  4. Yaj Yaj 23 May 2013

    @Gillian,
    I agree with you totally.
    however, what followed apartheid was more than just a tenuous democracy but further economic plunder of this country by the corporate elite through neoliberal trade liberalisation, relaxation of exchange controls i.e the Washington consensus globalisation that the ANC elite under Trevor Manuel, Thabo Mbeki, Tito Mboweni and Maria Ramos sold their souls out to.
    What we need is a paradigm shift in economic policy to seriously address the legacy of apartheid and inequality in this country. This will require a firm commitment to monetary and banking reform, tax reform and universal basic income.
    This would mean either establishment of public state banks for all our infrastructure investment or replacing fractional reserve banking with full reserve banking. It would also entail replacing income tax and VAT with a land value tax and a levy on both sides of all transactions.
    see http://www.positivemoney.org.uk , http://www.newera.org.za

  5. Vince Vince 23 May 2013

    Yes ‘mine worker’ tribalism will always play a part, it s always been used in this country to divide and conquer as have politically affiliated unions who often hold shares in the companies their members belong to.Tell me ‘mine worker’ do you live in a shack next to a slimes dam and are you one of those on minimal wage?Did you strike with the workers or are you comfortable enough that you see no wrong and only good in these benevolent companies that employ these ‘poor workers’ (Who stay poor)Needs must ,when dealing with our own complicity and mind set,but I don t think you should be calling anyone disingenuous.

  6. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 23 May 2013

    @Mine Worker, what is missing in this article is that these mine workers have to give part of their salaries to the tribal chiefs that controlled the tribal lands. What is missing about this article is the miners invested money in these mines to make a profit and pay their taxes. The government should be using the tax money for social programs. However, the government has been stealing the money, and nothing is done for the people.

  7. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 23 May 2013

    The original Dutch Cape Colony, before British colonisation, was already the largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa, based entirely on agriculture and supplying the ships sailing the spice route to and from Europe to the East, and without any mining.

    The discovery of Gold and Diamonds brought Imperialists like Rhodes and Milner, the Anglo Boer War, and massive migration from all over Southern Africa to the mines for work, and was somewhat of a mixed blessing.

  8. Ouch Ouch 24 May 2013

    Some relevant points but too many over-stated and PC one-sided rhetoric which unfortunately makes one think: “mining companies and their political mates – right wing propaganda – this – left wing of the same… the search continues for the 50:50 debate”

  9. ian ian 24 May 2013

    Out of interest, Gillian, would you care to look into how much tax these mining companies have paid over to the government, perhaps a few words on what those taxes have been used for (both old and new regimes).

  10. michael michael 24 May 2013

    Succintly put by Mine Worker,fundamentally dishonest which is par for the course,

  11. Wow Wow 24 May 2013

    @Gillian Schutte, if I walked up to you on the street and punched you in the mouth while asking for money, would you give it to me willingly or would you consider yrou life to be under threat (mugging)? That is the exact reason why striking mine workers are never taken seriously by south africans, the mining industry and the rest of the world. The fact that these protests ALWAYS result in destruction, violence and murder has nothign to do with corporate responsibility. It all boils down to the fact that government will not rock the boat.

    Surely if you want to set a minimum wage that is acceptable for labour in 2013, government should convene a forum with unions and industry and enforce what is determined to be acceptable. because if the minimum wage is X, and i pay my workers that, I am not breaking the law.

    Secondly, environmental good practice is very new in RSA and is gaining momentum slowly but surely. But there is no difference between people who litter, dump building rubble or household waste illegally and heavy polluters. It boils down to enforcement of the law because people are lazy and unlikely to make the required effort.

    So again,the fact that we are being polluted by heavy indstry boils down to government not rocking the boat. Because surely these people shoudl be in court, fined, imprisoned or forced to remediate pollution events? But our government would rather ensure the rates and taxes and revenue from industry over our well being.

  12. Zeph Zeph 24 May 2013

    And here we have another version of events. No different from the others; omitting facts of what the author does not want told and emphasizing others to prove her point. But that is journalism; we need to sift through the shit to find the truth. I am a bit disappointed as this is written months after the event and I therefore would have expected a far more studied piece – but I suppose this is but just an opinion piece anyway.
    Also, this is a universal story and not particular to RSA.

  13. Derek Derek 24 May 2013

    I agree – the people who deserve the money the most – the real workers – are paid a pittance while the top dogs earn obscene salaries and bonuses. There can be no justification for this. Absolute greed.

    In light of this, I propose that a legal MAXIMUM wage be set. The top earner in the company cannot earn a total package of more than say 5000% what the lowest paid worker in the company earns. So if the lowest paid worker gets R5000 pm, then the top paid worker cannot earn more than R250 000 pm. If the top paid worker wants R1 000 000 pm, then they would have to pay the lowest paid worker R20 000 pm. That should even things out a bit.

  14. Conrad Conrad 24 May 2013

    When the Zimbabwean government failed the people of Zimbabwe the poor and landless people were made to believe that it was the fault of the white farmers and white owned businesses in Zimbabwe.That was easy, because the people were desperate, and for them that mades sense and so they invaded the lands and evicted farmers off their property. The farmers complained and rightly so.But when the land invasions began how many of these farms had decent houses for their workers on the farm, decent toilets,and just plain decent living facilities.When people are treated like animals for so long, their hearts harden and they take out their frustration on those who have been treating them like animals.The same is true fro the S.A and the miners. The miners are aware of the billions that have been accumalated by these mining houses over the years and they know the about the big billion bank a accounts, and the lies about profits. When the ANC government fail these people, the anc will tell them that it is because of the rich minig magnates and the other rich people. THe people will turn on the rich in minute. When they talk about CSI they better do something that is tangible for the poor uneducated, jobless, and homeless people.Something the people can see is happning.

  15. johannes johannes 24 May 2013

    I have work in mining until 2011!this white their don’t gone change soon,when we rise the issue of living wage,it not their promlem,transport,food,but their enjoy the benefitonly senior management,us black brother must die working,I buried most of my friends!once u get ill !no usefull!undermedical!it hard to work in mining industry!if u are not light in colour!their still controll most of things!in position of power!when we rise the issues with them their kick us out!their have power,and our government just benefit with our life!I’m happy to go home in mafikeng still alive

  16. David van Wyk David van Wyk 24 May 2013

    The problem in South Africa is that Europeans landed here in 1652, but never quite arrived. This is because the first things they did was to build fortified walls and fences around themselves, and inside the fences and walls they replicated Europe, making clear that their intent was not to be part of Africa but to impose instead Europe on Africa. This is unfortunately still the dominant discourse among many white South Africans – that of the civilising mission. This patronising attitude is also reflected in the CSR programmes of major mining corporations. Thank you Gillian for a great article.

  17. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 24 May 2013

    Not very well researched and very one sided.
    I’m not at all convinced that a newly recruited, completely unskilled person should earn more than a qualified teacher or a doctor just because it is a mine.

  18. Wow Wow 24 May 2013

    Lets assume that a miner earns R4000 per month. It is unlikely that he is taxed because it is a small amount of income. But if you add to the fact that he doesnt have to pay rent (be that an informal set up or a mine hostel), is covered by the companies medical aid and pension schemes and there are generally schooling programmes and creches for staff children. So you can see that if you had to attribute costs to these services the value of that salary increases a bit. I work in the private sector and have to cover all of that myself.

    But lets not assume that this is a fair wage because it really isnt. But the miners must realise that if they do have their salaries increased to over R10 000 per month then they should have to pay for their own homes, schooling, medical aid and pension like the rest of the country who sit on the lower end of the middle class spectrum.

    I dont get any assistance from my employer in the private sector and I dont take to the streets burning tyres, attacking, injuring and killing co-workers and police while demanding more money.

    makes you think…

  19. Judith Judith 24 May 2013

    The fact is that the undertakings made to the government by the mines are not regulated and evaluated, so they are never complied with, resulting in poor or non-existent infrastructure and high levels of pollution. This results in poor health amongst the miners and the communities.

    When sickness becomes a problem for the miner, he or she is boarded without compensation. This happens throughout Africa, not just in South Africa

  20. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 24 May 2013

    Surprising how the Sotho, Swazis, Zimbabweans, and all the neighbouring poor flood into South Africa’s mines begging to be exploited!

    And since when is R12,000 per month poverty?

  21. Dennis Morton Dennis Morton 24 May 2013

    @ Wow….. you work in the private sector and pay taxes and ensure you have money for your children’s education; no doubt you pay contributions to medical aid and pension. It is a struggle I agree.
    Wouldn’t it be easier for you to go and work in the mining industry so that you would not have to pay for education, taxes (or a little), medical aid and pension? You would also have free education for your children.
    I challenge you to go and work on the mines for one month to see how you would survive with all the benefits you say the miners receive.
    In fact I will join you. Let us get a television documentary production company to produce a video of you and me working side by side in the mining industry.
    I am available for the month of October. It would make a great documentary…. I am
    sure you would agree. Any producers out there?
    I am serious about the challenge and the documentary.

  22. Marleen Marleen 24 May 2013

    Thanks for giving the other side to the story.

    It’s a shame that so many of the commentators don’t seem to get what a big impact one’s immediate environment have on you. R4000 per month +accomodation in Sandton is one thing, but living in a place with no basic services, security and infra-structure is a whole different ball game. And the genius that reckons that the people in the slums of Mumbai are not that violent obviously haven’t been there. Maybe there are less protests, but India remains an extremely dangerous country with a high violent crime rate.

    Very good comments by David van Wyk and Derek, btw.

  23. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 24 May 2013

    @Comments on this issue, most of you missed the point that these mine don’t produce wealth because there is no value added to the minerals to create jobs and wealth. Another point should be asked is why the government hasn’t built low cost homes near the mines? The people come to work in the mines come from the tribal homelands, and the living conditions are no better than what one see around the mines. These scenes are being played out all over Africa where the resources are being extracted.

  24. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 24 May 2013

    Is the basic wage of a miner R4000? That is not what I heard in the intensive debates that went on on the radio. And does that include the allowances and overtime including the living out allowance? Unfortunately I can’t remember all the details.

  25. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 25 May 2013

    The problem on the mines is not how much miners are or are not paid, but the endless oversupply of uneducated Blacks from the former British Homelands and Protectorates all over Southern Africa who have no other way of earning a living and have been kept ignorant and uneducated by their Tribal Chiefs and their Sangomas.

    There is no difference to the oversupply of uneducated Homeland Blacks from “apartheid” South African Homelands like the Zulu and Xhosa Homelands, and the non-SA and non-apartheid Homelands like Lesotho and Swaziland. Zimbabwe is even more farcical – since Blacks always had the vote in Zimbabwe, provided they could prove they were self supporting and not serfs of a feudal chief.

    Since the 19th century Black Chiefs and Sangomas have refused to let their people get “educated out of our culture” and have insisted that the only education they need is in initiation schools.

    Those initiation schools are not under either the supervision of the Department of Health or the Department of Basic Education, and according to what my Xhosa friends have told me in the past, teach the most horrifying and sexist and patriarchal superstitions.

    Both Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma’s own life stories are about boys who ran away from just such tribal authorities.

  26. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 25 May 2013

    @Beddy, you are too brutal with your pen because these people don’t want to talk about how feudalism is retarding SA development.

  27. Marleen Marleen 25 May 2013

    Lyndall Beddy, not sure if you’re trying to be nice here, but using the term ‘blacks’ is kind of outdated and insensitive. How do your Xhosa friends feel about that? Also, your views are super oversimplified. First of all, there are different ‘tribes’ in South Africa, and there were actually chiefs that contributed greatly to society in Southern Africa, a fine example being king Moshoeshoe. I refuse to have a debate about this with anyone who hasn’t read up on this man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshoeshoe_I. Also, this has zero to do with chiefs keeping people uneducated. There are two major role players that keep people impoverished in South Africa. First off, the government who fails to deliver basic services and build an infrastructure that empowers people. Then we have corporations that have the government in their pocket, and who conveniently make the government a scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in SA. It wasn’t tribal chiefs that caused the immense environmental damage these people have to deal with, and it wasn’t the tribal chiefs that disenfranchised people. And finally, a note on patriarchy: did you know under apartheid women got paid lower salaries than men doing exactly the same jobs, with exactly the same qualifications? How many ‘white’ women do you know that change their surnames after marriage upon the insistence of their husbands? You blame that on sangomas and tribal chiefs?

  28. Marleen Marleen 25 May 2013

    Final questions Lyndall: who is poisoning the waters, who is exporting all the minerals, and who refuses to build schools and roads? Who lied about putting back into the community in exchange for the right to mine there? Is it the sangomas, the tribal chiefs or ‘the oversupply of uneducated blacks’?

  29. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 25 May 2013

    Sterling

    According to my Xhosa friends those initiation schools re-inforce the power of the Sangomas and teach the boys that only the Sangomas can contact the ancestors or control the evil spirits.

    Which might even be why the first Zulu King, Shaka, stopped the initiation ceremonies for the Zulus. Shaka was an innovator, unusual in his interest in other cultures and willingness to learn from them. He learned the use of iron tips on spears from the Amalungu shipwreck survivor tribe (most likely Indians) and cultivated friendships with the few White explorers and hunters there were to learn as much as possible about their cultures, also insisting they write down and record the history of the Zulus.

    It is possible that King Shaka decided that if the Amalungu and the Whites did not need initiation ceremonies to strenghten the power of the Sangomas, then neither did his people, the Zulus.

  30. Littlebobpete Littlebobpete 25 May 2013

    Whilst I dont for one minute thnk that the mines are blamless by any means, they are capitalists who take financial risks for rewards. They play the game……yes, the game of capitalism is wrong on many fronts……..but it what we have for now.
    For all the press reports Marleen, no miners earn just R4000.
    Lets assume with the add ons its closer to R8000 or R9000. The issue that needs to be considered is how they spend their money……they buy the latest and greatest cell phones, they want the best clothes. In many cases, the blames lies not with those employing them, it lies with those bombardering them thereafer for their hard earned cash. They generally spend far too much money on “wants” and then cry wolf when they dont have the cash for their “needs”…..and then blame their employers for paying them too little. Yes,the wage gap is too big, but the solution to that is to lower executive pay, not increase labour pay…..AND……..lower it not so that you can increase labour pay.
    In society we have classes…..we have had them for centuaries……the poor or low income earners just cannot have the same trappings in live that the wealthy or elite to……..

  31. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 26 May 2013

    Marleen

    Jacob Zuma’s second wife in a senior position in the AU is gender equity is it? Only when she also has 5-6 husbands in my opinion!

    In fact why they divorced I don’t understand, since they were not married by Western but by Tribal Law in the first place, since Jacob Zuma married his first wife, from whom he is not divorced, by Western Law in a Church in a ceremony paid for by the anti-apartheid movement.

  32. Marleen Marleen 26 May 2013

    Littlebobpete, the issue is not salary, it’s corporate responsibility. The mining companies promise to put back into the community (they even have the audacity to advertise), yet they only take take take. And the government is also to blame. You probably never had to worry about not being able to get medical help, you have access to clean water and should you want to, you could probably choose from more than one school to send your kids. Also, you probably don’t need temporary accomodation closer to work which makes it impossible for you to see your family everyday. Correct me if I’m wrong. As for how the people spend their money, have you interviewed every single one of them? Lyndell, for some reason, despite patriarchy, the majority of middle class. south Africans of all races get good service delivery, and have access to clean water. There are less birth defects (as result of hazordous chemicals) in these communities. Pollution from mining activity is not directly affecting them, yet. Nor is patriarch Zuma directly affected, yet. Which leads to the conclusion that it’s not the fault of patriarchy that these people are impoverished. I myself hate patriarchy, but mining companies should not use this as scape goat. They are doing damage to our environment and socio economic situation, and they should take responsibility.

  33. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 26 May 2013

    Why don’t we ban migrant labour.
    Force the mines to build schools and such locally and NEVER in ECape.
    Get the mines the ability to ONLY supply accommodation and not be allowed to supply a housing allowance.
    Make the unions take back their stupidity and allow the bi-annual health check to be re-instated.
    Take off all the bonuses and take it back to a one size fits all hourly rate.
    Get our useless ministers to do their jobs by ensuring the laws are monitored and enforced.
    Make the provincial government release the billions in the trust account to the people who actually own it.
    Force the local government to actually use some of the vast amounts of taxes from the mines to produce the infrastructure which it is meant for.

    Over and above all, we should get the mining companies, unions and government to realise that they have to have a symbiotic relationship for any business (and employment) to survive. This labeling everyone as the ‘enemy’ is ridiculously childish and will be the death of our country.

  34. Marleen Marleen 26 May 2013

    Nobody could developb normally living in a dump like Marikana. As long as we ok poverty, blaming these people for their own fate, we’ll always have to deal with high taxes and crime. If it’s acceptable for you to share a country with people whose basic human needs are not met, you pretty much deserve South Africa, just the way it is.

  35. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 26 May 2013

    Marleen and Momma Cyndi

    The reason that the ANC won’t ban migrant labour is that that would clash with their Pan African One Africa obssession! They would have to ban open borders and Swazi and Basuto and Zimbabwean migrant labour if they built villages for South African migrant labour from the Zulu and Xhosa Homelands.

    In the 1970s the mines had already closed migrant employment to Blacks in Homelands outside South Africa’s borders allowing only migrant labour from the SA Homelands – the ANC opened those borders again.

  36. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 27 May 2013

    @Marleen, look at how many people in the government are riding around in cars that can build three houses in SA. If the miners want to invest in SA, the miners should invest in industries that will add value to the resources to create wealth and jobs. For example, the coal is shipped to the steel mills, the mills used the coal to make steel, and the steel is used to make finish products. However, this isn’t happening in SA these minerals are shipped to Asia so they can convert them into finish products. The big question why the government in SA isn’t supporting a policy of building the industry around the country resources? Agang is the only political party that has come out and call for building industries around the country resources.

  37. Marleen Marleen 27 May 2013

    Sterling, i don’t quite get what you’re saying. ‘The miners should invest’? You mean people doing hard labour?

  38. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 28 May 2013

    @Marleen, the miners are the ones that owned the mines, the mine workers are the ones that work in the mines. However, there are some situations where the mine workers can own the mines. What I was suggesting that the miners should be encouraged to invest in industries to give value to the resources in SA. For an Example, US steel in the US owns mines that are integrated in their operation to produce steel. SA/Africa are trying to sell their natural resources to buy goods from overseas instead of producing them in their countries.

  39. Marleen Marleen 29 May 2013

    Thanks Sterling, it makes sense.

  40. mothobi tshabalala mothobi tshabalala 21 July 2013

    the root of problem is that every government official is given a piece of share in mine so that they can plot against their own people and communities. everytime when they have to apply environmental laws,make mining acts amendment and act on the one that are implemented currently they will turn an ignorant eye because they will be told straight that they are protecting their own investment by not giving workers what they deserve. our people cant be fooled forever. we are still instiling civic education and once they express themselves they will be unstoppable in alll corners of south africa. we are been made to be divided with every country that does not allow US to command their economy and all america is doing is to divide and then team against. the practical is north korea nd south korea have become enemies because they divide them. on top media is funded by capitalist they will always give a false reflection of circumsatances. we shall overcome this one day. we can be fooled forever.

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