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NGO gives aid to miners eating cats, rodents & wild veg

The miners, mostly foreign, have been living in abject poverty since losing their jobs in 2009.

FILE: Relief group the Gift of the Givers will hand out food parcels to miners who have been living on cats, rodents and wild vegetables after losing their jobs at the Aquarius mine in 2009. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Gift of the Givers will be handing out food parcels to unemployed miners living in Kroondal, who have been surviving by eating cats, rodents and wild vegetables.

Over 1,000 contracted to Murray and Roberts lost their jobs in 2009, after embarking on an unprotected strike at Aquarius mine in the North West.

The organisation says just over 200 of those miners are now living in a nearby hostel and most of them are foreign nationals from Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Many of the immigrants are struggling to obtain the documentation allowing them to have access to healthcare and leaving the country to be reunited with their families.

The Gift of the Givers' Tapiwa Marima said the food parcels would be delivered on Thursday afternoon.

"We are trying to make it an ingoing initiative. We are also going to propose; because I am a social worker, I have been there. I have talked to those people I've understood most of them want to go back to their families. Since 2009 they haven't been contacting their families."

Meanwhile, the legal resource centre will provide assistance to the foreign nationals struggling with documentation to go home as well as fight a case for unfair dismissal.

The organisations Neo Nong said some of the miners died after being exposed to toxic chemicals.

Nong said, "Some of them, like I said, have been waiting on the case; the labour case and they said maybe they could go home once they know what the decision is. If they will be able to get re-employment or they will be able to get compensation. "