olindile Saphendu cannot believe the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has found nobody directly responsible for the death of her son.
Fezile (27) was gunned down at the infamous Scene 2, the koppie on which police officers shot striking mine workers as they fled.
The fourth of six children, Fezile had worked at the Lonmin mine for just two years before his death.
He had been urged to apply there by his friend Mngcineni Noki, the Marikana strike leader who became known as “the man in the green blanket”.
Mngcineni and Fezile both lived in Kwaimani village in Mqanduli, outside Mthatha, in homes 8km apart.
Nolindile (67) also accuses President Jacob Zuma of being “downright disrespectful” for telling the nation about the report’s findings before telling the families.
“I have not heard the findings you are talking about. We don’t have any radio or television here. We just get small bits of information here and there. We have nothing concrete.
“Zuma and his government do not care about us ordinary people,” she said.
“This whole commission process was a waste of time. They should have left things as they were because almost three years after I lost my son, I am yet to find the truth regarding his death.”
The grandmother of five said she was extremely disappointed and old wounds had been exposed.
Pointing at her son’s grave in the corner of the family garden, she said no amount of talking would bring her “favourite son” back.
“He was the youngest of my sons. He would spoil me whenever he was around from the mines. He had promised to build me a house so that I can live in comfort for the remaining years of my adult life.
“But all those dreams, including his of starting a family, getting married and having children, are gone.”
Eight kilometres away, Noki’s sister, Nolufefe (34), was bitterly disappointed at the report’s findings.
“I cannot talk at this stage because the situation is still very sensitive. All I can say is that I am hurt.
“We have been advised by our lawyers and those who have been attending the commission to wait until Monday before we can talk to the media,” Nolufefe said.
The Nokis still live in a dilapidated mud hut that doubles as a kitchen and bedroom. Their other two rondavels are being renovated because the roof leaks when it rains. When City Press visited this week, an RDP house had been built there, but it was not complete.
“We are happy to have this house. At least it will help accommodate some of the members of the family,” said Nolufefe. Noki is survived by his wife and five children. Back at the Saphendu home, Nolindile is now worried about her other son, Ntsikelelo (33), who works for Impala Platinum as a rock-drill operator, suffering the same fate.
“I have already lost three children out of the six I had. No parent wants to bury their children. We always pray that our children bury us, not the other way around. I cannot bear losing another child. If it was up to me, Ntsikelelo would stop working in the mines, but we need the money,” she said.
Ntsikelelo’s wife, Nokulunga, who was cooking samp and beans in a small, black, traditional pot near the kraal, says life has been tough at home since Fezile’s death.
“Fezile used to work with my husband to look after the family, and now that extra hand is not here any more.
“As a family, we are very disappointed at the disdain
FATEFUL DAYS Strike leader Mngcineni Noki, also known as ‘the man in the green blanket’, rallies
mine workers at Marikana in
THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US Nokulunga Saphendu and Nolindile Saphendu