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Wed Aug 20 12:41:22 SAST 2014

Aid for miners at last

SUBASHNI NAIDOO | 18 March, 2012 00:16
Paul Motloung, who worked at the troubled Grootvlei Mine and still stays in its hostel, has no electricity, running water or money to go home to Lesotho Picture: JAMES OATWAY

About 700 destitute Aurora miners in Gauteng and North West province received 47 tons of food for their families this week.

The Grootvlei and Orkney miners also received more than R400000 in donations.

The money came from supermarket group Pick n Pay, mining giants De Beers and AngloGold Ashanti, and pharmacy group Dischem.

The donations are pouring in fast, according to Gift of the Givers, a humanitarian organisation that is spearheading the relief aid.

President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma and Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa Mandela are among the directors of Aurora, which owes the miners more than R4.5-million in wages, but has paid nothing for almost three years.

Aurora is under liquidation and faces several claims.

Some of the miners and their families have survived on bread and water for the past three years.

On Wednesday, the National Union of Mineworkers and Cosatu described the conditions of the starving miners and their families as an "international disaster".

Most of the affected miners are from Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

On Monday, hundreds of them gathered at the Orkney mine in Klerksdorp, where they expected to be paid their outstanding wages, but the money never arrived.

Gift of the Givers chairman Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said the situation was "critical".

"These people are living for the day and don't know where their next meal is going to come from. It goes beyond starvation ... they have absolutely nothing to eat," he said.

Cosatu's North West provincial secretary, Solly Phetoe, said Gift of the Givers had committed to providing cooked meals to the families every day until April 17, when the liquidation proceedings will be finalised in Pretoria.

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Wed Aug 20 12:41:22 SAST 2014 ::