Musical tells Marikana story

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Copy of ca p4 marikana cops done.JPG REUTERS A policeman gestures in front of some of the dead miners after they were shot outside Lonmin mine in Rustenburg. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Rustenburg - A Rustenburg-based theatre group has developed a musical play on events leading to the killing of people in Marikana, North West, two years ago.

“The play portrays problems that led to migrant labour, social challenges in the mines and offers some solutions,” Thapelo Mokhutshoane, producer and writer of the Songs of Marikana, said on Monday.

In the play, the group proposed the establishment of a trust fund to which all mineworkers would contribute monthly.

“The money will help them to start projects when they leave the mines. It will also help them to educate their children,” he said.

Mokhutshoane said the play traced the root causes of migrant labour and the resultant lifestyle migrant workers were exposed to at the mines.

“In the rural areas we plough and herd cattle, but drought forced men to look for work in the mines leaving women and children behind.”

Once working on the mines, men forgot about the relatives they left behind or started another family.

“This means he cannot go back home and only sends money home. The money is shared between the two families,” Mokhutshoane said.

“To make ends meet, he borrows from loan sharks and eventually fails to provide for the families as he takes home very little money.”

Under pressure and under-paid, workers tended to revolt, demanding more money to cover their needs.

“This is how the play portrays the strike in 2012.”

He said the play focused on health and safety, working conditions in the mines and the socio-economic issues affecting mineworkers.

Forty-four people were killed in Marikana in 2012 during a wildcat strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in North West.

Workers rejected their trade union and went on a wildcat strike demanding to be paid a monthly salary of R12,500.

Thirty-four mineworkers were killed on August 16, 2012 when police fired on them, apparently attempting to disarm and disperse them.

Ten other people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to probe the shootings.

Mokhutshoane said the play aimed to raise money to help residents of Marikana and victims of the August 2012 shootings.

“We will see how to help victims overcome their loss. We may help building a school or a road in Marikana as our contribution, depending on the need,” he said.

Songs of Marikana would play at the Rustenburg show from Tuesday until Friday.

“We are also going to the Grahamstown Arts Festival to portray the story of Marikana,” Mokhutshoane said.

Rustenburg show organiser Obed Legobate said the show started well despite the strike in the platinum mines.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Impala, Lonmin 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.

Talks to end the strike facilitated by the labour court continued at an undisclosed location in Johannesburg on Monday.

Sapa



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