Mourning Marikana wife speaks out

My husband was killed wanting a better life for me and our child, said a mourning Lonmin resident.

Women join the Lonmin mine strike to support their husbands who are fighting for higher wages on 16 August, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News.

MARIKANA - A woman who lost her partner in deadly clashes between police and Lonmin's Marikana mineworkers on Sunday said she was angry with government for not preventing violent attacks in the region.

On Thursday, a shootout ensued between the two parties. Both blame each other for firing live ammunition first.

The 24-year-old woman told Eyewitness News her partner was killed wanting a better life for her and their 1-year-old child.

Her husband was one of 34 people shot dead during clashes in Wonderkop, on the outskirts of the Marikana mining town in the North West.

Sitting in the bedroom of her shack, the woman said she was concerned about her child's future, following his father's untimely and brutal death.

The unemployed woman was told by her husband's colleagues that he had died, after she spent Thursday night searching for him in a Rustenburg hospital.

She is worried her child will not benefit from funds Lonmin has pledged to mourning families as she and her child are without identification documents.

About 3, 000 rock drill operators went on an illegal strike last week Friday.

Union rivalry was initially blamed for the attacks, but Lonmin mineworks soon revealed they were demanding a salary increase of R12, 500, instead of the R4, 900 they currently earn.

President Jacob Zuma and police officials have visited the area and called for an end to the violence.

But ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema encouraged workers to continue striking until their employment demands were met.

Malema heard from protesters involved in the clashes before he addressed the outraged crowd on Saturday.

The Western Platinum mineworkers maintain they will not return to work until Lonmin management agree to negotiate a salary increase and other employment conditions with them.