Why do African churches exploit their members

Mine workers fight for their rights

Police shoot striking miners

Power Khangelani Hafe will not forget August 16, 2012 for the rest of his life. On that day, the South African police shot and killed 34 striking miners. It was his colleagues. They fought for better wages, for better working conditions, for a better life. But the British mine operator Lonmin did not respond to the demands. Instead, he called the police, who ended the protest with gun violence. The "Marikana Massacre" aroused outrage around the world.


Picture gallery: Abuses in the mining industry in South Africa

South Africa is rich in natural resources, but the local population does not benefit from it. She suffers from the negative consequences of mining.

© Cedric Nunn

 

Those affected receive help from the Bench Marks Foundation (BMF). She wants to get mining companies to accept their responsibility for people and the environment.

© Cedric Nunn

 

Voluntary “on-site inspectors” of the organization document human rights violations and environmental pollution and make them public.

© Cedric Nunn

 

The British company Lonmin operates the third largest platinum mine in the world in Marikana. Around 25,000 people work here under partly inadmissible conditions.

© Cedric Nunn

 

When workers protested the grievances in August 2012, Power Hafe was one of 3,000 strikers. On the seventh day, the police shot and killed 34 of his colleagues.

© Cedric Nunn

 

Lonmin has meanwhile raised the wages of the miners. But the promised 5,500 new houses for the employees have still not been built.

© Cedric Nunn

 

The widows of the miners who were shot are still waiting for compensation. To this day, Lonmin has not even apologized for the massacre.

© Cedric Nunn

 

As one of the most important customers, BASF could also have put pressure on Lonmin. However, the group has been avoiding a clear statement on the incidents to this day.

© Cedric Nunn

 


Rich natural resources, poor population

South Africa is rich in natural resources. There are huge deposits of coal, chromium, manganese, gold, diamonds and platinum. However, it is the corporations in particular who benefit from the great demand. For the majority of the population, living conditions have barely improved even twenty years after the end of apartheid. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line. The study "Platinum for the world market, tinworks for the workers" deals with the working and living conditions of the people in Marikana - five years after the massacre.


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Platinum mining in South Africa: BASF and the Marikana massacre

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Survivors demand compensation

Some of the widows of the shot miners meet regularly and support each other where they can. Lonmin offered all women work in the company, often the same job that their men did underground. Most of you accepted the offer out of desperation over the lack of income. But that didn't ease their anger and pain: “We demand that the company apologize. And we demand compensation - even if that doesn't bring our dead husbands back to life. "

The Bench Mark Foundation is demanding this compensation together with the bereaved. And it brings the grievances in mining into the media - often enough the only way to get the corporations to act.



I donate for human rights and peace

Production of 50 newsletters for affected communities
Material for 5 workshops with 15 participants
Digital recording device for interviews in the communities