Marikana - Hundreds of mineworkers and their families stood in a long queue at the Wonderkop stadium in Marikana on Saturday to receive food parcels from the Gift of the Givers.

“This is better than nothing. I will have some thing to eat,” said Pako Liau.

His hamper contained a 2kg bag of rice, 410g of canned fish, 410g of canned beans, 750ml of cooking oil and a packet of soya mince soup.

“This rice will last for three days if I do not share with others but, if my brother has nothing to eat and I have a cup of rice left I have to help him.”

The Gift of the Givers also provided a 24-member medical team to give healthcare to people in the area.

“Malnutrition and related illnesses is the primary concern,” said the organisation's spokeswoman Emily Thomas.

The medical team consists of general practitioners, paediatricians, primary healthcare nurses, paramedics, dietitians, dentists and oral hygienists.

The Gift of the Givers said it had provided food parcels to over 2 565 families, fed 5 000 people, distributed 800 blankets and provided clothing packs to 1100 families in the North West platinum belt.

The food parcels were for mineworkers who had been on a strike since January.

“We have seen the demeanour of people swing from desperation to happiness to pure jubilation as food and the other items have been rolling out,” said Thomas.

“In spite of the suffering of the people there has been an unusual calm on the mines as recipients gratefully receive what has been on offer.”

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

They rejected the companies' offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by July 2017. - Sapa