Housing is a sensitive issue in Marikana

Marikana today is a land of rock dust and muddy water, where thousands of people live in informal settlements without access to electricity, adequate sanitation facilities or running water. They are desperate and angry; it is exactly as it was four years back.

The main informal settlement is at Marikana, Nkaneng where many Lonmin mineworkers live. Those who have electricity access it through illegal connection. Shacks are made from scrap materials and living dwellers/owners  are exposed to cold, heat, rain and wind.

More than 20 000 workers in Lonmin are migrant workers and that is why housing is such an issue in the area.

In 2006 Lonmin promised that by 2011 they would phase out all single sex hostels accommodation and convert 114 hostels into bachelor or family units. Lonmin also pledged to build an additional 5500 houses connected to infrastructure for water, electricity and sewage. When the strike began in 2012, workers were unhappy about their living conditions and their wages. All Lonmin had done was build three show houses and convert 60 hostels. When Lonmin was questioned about its failure to fulfill its obligations, their justification was the 2008 financial crash and lack of infrastructure in the area.

This article was published and first appeared on www.CommunityMonitors.net, on 25 April 2017.

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