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Plea to help those hurt by platinum strike

Johannesburg - Non-strikers, particularly children, affected by the strike in the North West's platinum belt need sustainable support, a charity said on Thursday.

Months after the strike had ended people would continue to feel its effects, trade union Solidarity's Helping Hand charity chief executive Danie Brink said in a statement.

Food parcels given to mineworkers in Rustenburg, North West province. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“We are concerned that the public will consider the end of the strike to be the end of the humanitarian crisis as well and stop supporting our efforts.

“It will be months before these families will be back on their feet again, and even longer for those that will be affected by the expected layoffs,” he said.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

They have so far rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12,500 by July 2017.

Over the past seven weeks Helping Hand had provided relief in the North West to the value of R2 million. This included donations of food and the establishment of a bursary fund for children of non-strikers for tertiary education next year.

In addition, Helping Hand was providing psychometric tests for children, particularly Grade Nines, to help them choose subjects for next year.

It was helping non-strikers compile CVs and find jobs, and negotiating with banks regarding arrangements for paying debts in arrears.

“It is crucial that Helping Hand should focus on preventing poverty among the children of non-strikers by investing in their academic future,” Brink said.

According to Solidarity's website, Helping Hand helps provide upliftment through training.

“Helping Hand focuses on alleviating poverty by helping people to be self-reliant and preparing young people for the labour market.”

Brink said farmers, organisations and ordinary South Africans had made donations to help the needy in the platinum belt. - Sapa

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