EFF leader Julius Malema. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Rustenburg - Life was tough for over 1 000 mineworkers fired six years ago at Aquarius Platinum Mine in Kroondal near Rustenburg, one of them said on Monday.

“People in this hostel are hunting, fishing or work in the nearby farms for survival,” said Daniel Seqoboko from Lesotho.

He said they were dismissed in August 2009 for embarking on an unprotected strike.

“We wanted a salary increase and better working condition. Aquarius blast three times a day and this affected our health. It gives us TB and lung cancer,” he said during Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema’s visit at the hostel.

“We were about 3 400, some were re-employed and 1 400 of us were left outside and to date at least 152 have died since our dismissal. They are from Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland, we could not afford to send them home for burial. They were buried here in Kroondal. It is painful because their children hope they will one day come back.”

Malema promised the dismissed workers that he would take up their case and find a solution to it.

“A fact that they keep you in hostel after the dismissal is a starting point. We are going to tell them that the condition of the hostel is inhuman,” said Malema.