Picture: Timothy Bernard.

Rustenburg - Government and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) are not doing anything to alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by the strike in the platinum mining sector, Solidarity said on Friday.

“Thousands of people who are not even participating in the strike have become impoverished as a result of the war between the mining houses and Amcu,” the trade union's chief executive Dirk Hermann said.

Solidarity's charity Helping Hands had already spent R700,000 on an emergency relief programme for its members and their families.

“Amcu, on the other hand, is not taking any responsibility for its members’ distress, which puts Solidarity’s aid programme under tremendous pressure.

“Yesterday 1/8Thursday 3/8, dozens of Amcu members descended on a feeding project of Solidarity, causing major turmoil.

“Helping Hands cannot take responsibility for Amcu members and the whole community. Amcu and the state must take responsibility for the situation,” he said.

“Amcu is causing a humanitarian crisis, but refuses to take responsibility for it. The strike fund that Amcu has created is insufficient and cannot support its members adequately.”

He said the strike fund made provision for R12.50 for each Amcu member.

“This is the equivalent of one loaf of bread provided during the four-month-long strike,” Hermann said.

Helping Hands was already giving assistance to more than 1000

families and some 4000 people and was also involved in nine school feeding schemes costing R250,000.

“We challenge the Amcu leadership to give food to hundreds of hungry children and nappies and formula to mothers with babies at our next outreach actions.

“We are also disappointed at the state’s absence in the crisis. The situation is taking on catastrophic proportions, yet the state remains absent.”

He said while mining houses and Amcu were waging a power struggle, the state was taking a neutral stance due to what appeared to be political reasons.

“The ones who are paying the price for this are innocent women and children,” he said.

Amcu members at Impala Platinum, Lonmin, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic salary of R12,500 per month.

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