Despite Marikana’s legacy, mine workers in South Africa are still battling for a better quality of life. Platinum miners at South Africa’s three largest platinum producers staged a 5-month strike at the beginning of last year to demand an increase in monthly wages from $480 a month to $1,200.
The platinum strike, which was South Africa’s longest and most costly mining strike to date, was quelled when producers agreed to increase the salaries of their lowest-paid workers by approximately $86 a month. This year gold miners are insisting on similar demands. Unions representing nearly 93,000 employees in the sector began negotiations with producers this past Monday to discuss their push for low-paid workers to receive pay increases ranging between 80 to more than 100 percent.
Workers in Marikana still live in shacks, and the roads are littered and unpaved. Munshi described the widows of Marikana workers as inheritors of a difficult life, in which they work the same mines as their deceased husbands once did. It is common policy for family members to take over mining jobs when a loved one dies in South Africa, but the widows face special hardship as they still lack access to basic services and do not have time to care for their children.
Read the rest over at VICE News.