Mail & Guardian

Rather than starve

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ness of the coal mine. The daylight is blinding. But to the men and women working here, it is a daily way of life.

An easy-going, bearded man is sitting on a pile of mined coal. Next to him are two other men, two women and two children, sitting among their own piles of coal. Another woman further away is carefully packing coal into large sacks. Next to her are two 1 400 bakkies, the bodies of which are perforated by rust.

The bearded man is Shoes Dube. He is the leader of this mining operation on the outskirts of Ermelo in Mpumalanga. He serves on a provincial steering committee that’s working to organise informal miners, such as these at the Golfview Mine, into registered co-operatives.

He says the coal is sold to distributo­rs,

 ??  ?? Danger: Police recovered 25 bodies, believed to be those of illegal miners, from a disused Harmony Gold mine shaft, near an area where 76 illegal miners died in 2009 in what was one of South Africa’s worst mining disasters. Photo: Paul Botes
Danger: Police recovered 25 bodies, believed to be those of illegal miners, from a disused Harmony Gold mine shaft, near an area where 76 illegal miners died in 2009 in what was one of South Africa’s worst mining disasters. Photo: Paul Botes

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