The South African government on Wednesday joined the nation in remembering the Marikana tragedy, pledging to improve the living conditions of miners.

The government observed the Marikana tragedy this day by reflecting on the challenges facing mine workers and distressed mining communities and renewing its resolve to improve their working and living conditions, spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

The 16th of August marks the 5th year of the Marikana tragedy, in which 34 miners were shot dead in clashes with police during labor unrest in Marikana, North West Province in 2012.

This came as residents in Marikana complained that the commemoration day was meaningless to them, as justice has not prevailed against those responsible for the tragedy.

People living in the vicinity of Marikana have also raised concerns about adequate housing, access to water and electricity for household use, as well as access to health services and social benefits.

The government has worked out plans to address the concerns, Williams said.

President Jacob Zuma set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee for the revitalization of distressed mining communities soon after the tragedy.

The government remains on track with regard to implementing the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy, according to Williams.

The government is considering the claims for compensation by victims and families of the victims of this tragedy in a conciliatory manner, said Williams.

About 1.1 billion rand (about 83 million US dollars) has been claimed for compensation of injuries and loss of support, according to Williams.

Hundreds of housing units have been completed to date as part of government efforts to ensure adequate, appropriate and sustainable human settlements development in Marikana, Williams said.

Planning is also underway for infrastructure delivery including the upgrading of roads, addressing water shortages and electricity in partnership with the private sector, said Williams.

“Government continues to engage business, labour and communities to seek sustainable solutions that resolve the concerns of mine workers and distressed mining communities and transform the mining sector to broaden the benefits of our country’s rich mineral wealth,” Williams said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/