Daily Maverick Marikana

Marikana: Shaky start for the Farlam Commission

Daily Maverick, 2 October 2012

The Marikana judicial commission started on Monday in the absence of the deceased miners’ family members. As the site inspection went ahead, it became obvious that the unpacking of the truth is going to be a monumental task. 

Billed as the biggest judicial probe in South African history since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Marikana judicial commission convened in Rustenburg on Monday. “Our country weeps because of the tragic loss, and this Commission will work expeditiously to ensure the truth is revealed,” retired Judge Ian Farlam told the hearing. But even as he assured the assembled audience of the Commission’s impartiality, he soon found out that it was not the credentials of the Commission itself that most imperilled the legitimacy of the Commission to establish the truth of the Marikana massacre. Any attempt to understand what exactly happened, and why, will need to mirror the complexity of the buildup to the strike.

Family members of the deceased were glaringly absent from proceedings as the names of the victims were read aloud on Monday morning.

“A roll call was taken and Judge Ian Farlam invited families to stand up as their loved one’s name was called, but no families were present. Nonetheless, the proceedings continued,” said Jackie Dugard, an attorney with the Socio-Economics Rights Institute (SERI), who is representing 20 of deceased miners’ families as well as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Despite the gathering of media, advocates, witnesses, and observers, then, some of the most important role players were not present – a situation criticised sharply by Dugard.

“It is very upsetting that the families have apparently not been prioritised,” she said.

As much as the truth of Marikana is crucial to the trade unions, ANC politics, the government and the interests of big business, it is perhaps the relatives of the deceased that have the strongest need to know what happened during the strike.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebenza told the Commission that SERI knew of some of families that were still not aware that an inquiry was underway. These families had no legal representation, and Ntsebenza implored the state and Lonmin to assist them.

“Of all the parties who are represented here, if any one party would be worthy of being assisted by the state, at taxpayers’ expense, they are the parties that have got to be assisted,” he said.

The anger that fuelled the strike in Marikana was to a great extent lent from a sentiment of exclusion. People felt left out of the decisions that governed their lives. To leave out their relatives in a process that sought to clarify why exactly they died would be a further indictment.

A request for a delay was first issued by Ntsebenza, who requested that proceedings be postponed for two weeks.

His request was seconded by attorney Dali Mpofu, who is acting on behalf of the 270 miners arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder in the aftermath of the violence.

“Consulting with 270 people can take quite a long time … if there is extra time, it would be welcomed on our part,” he said.

Representatives of the South African Police Services said they were not averse to a postponement. The extra time, they said, would afford them an opportunity to better prepare for the Commission.

Advocate George Bizos, acting for the Legal Resources Centre, was nonetheless adamant that the Commission had to continue. The cost of a postponement, he said, would be an unnecessary expenditure. And in the end, Farlam decided against a postponement, confident that in the day-and-a-half during which the Commission did site inspections would be sufficient to bus the relatives from the Eastern Cape to Rustenburg, in time for the next hearing.

“We were told after a tea break this morning that the Department of Social Development was making plans for families to attend. We hope this is the case. When we visited our clients late last week and over the weekend, none had been contacted by the Commission,” Dugard said.

Altogether it proved to be a disorganised, shaky start to the Commission, lending credence to fears that it had been convened too quickly to address adequately the many issues at hand.
Last week, human rights group Amnesty International noted, “The Commission is also under pressure to embark on its work at extremely short notice and to present its findings within four months.”
Despite these impediments, the pressure on the Commission to explain what happened in Marikana is immense. “This Commission must not fail,” Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director, said in a statement. “It is vital that it is empowered, properly resourced and given the time to do everything necessary to uncover exactly what happened in Marikana and help ensure these horrific events are not repeated.”

But even as a spokesperson for the commission expressed regret at the absence of the families, many still believe that it will be impossible to transport and accommodate representatives from all the victims’ families by Wednesday.

“We feel that it is essential that families are placed at the centre of the Inquiry and we understand that the Commission has substantial logistics-related resources: we hope some will be utilised to ensure families are present at least during the first few days of the Commission,” Dugard said.

It now remains to be seen if the Commission will go ahead on Wednesday if families of the deceased are still not present. Dugard for one is hopeful that Farlam will reassess his decision to postpone hearings for another week.

When the Commission does conclude site inspections, the first session is expected to focus on the events immediately preceding 16 August – the day of the shooting – with each party given an opportunity to present an overview of events from their point of view. The Commission has asked SAPS to provide an overview of events from the police’s perspective, and asked that the presentation include notes, photographs and plans with annotations. Members of the media were also requested to submit whatever footage they may have of the events leading to the shootings on 16 August.
But as residents from the nearby informal settlement approached the scene, singing struggle songs and chanting against Jacob Zuma, they carried placards that warned, “Don’t let the police get away with murder”.

To many in Marikana, the violence has already been analysed and blame has already been apportioned. DM

Daily Maverick Marikana

Marikana: Putting words to tragedy

Daily Maverick, 24 September 2012

South Africans are still trying to come to terms with what exactly happened in Marikana. And if the poetry and music on Marikana that has emerged so far is anything to go by, we are deeply conflicted in our understanding of the tragedy, its causes and its potential effects. 

The strike is over. The dead, most of them, have been buried. It’s only the most recent victim of the strike at Lonmin’s mines in Marikana that awaits interment at the Phokeng Mortuary in Rustenburg. Even as the headlines mull the cost to the economy, sifting rumour from fact and shifting focus to the next big strike and quantifying the potential for greater unrest, Marikana will not recede from the public consciousness very easily. Even as a sense of calm and normalcy returns to the town, where goats steal spinach from street vendors, poetry and music, cultural expressions of Marikana, not as a place, but as a pivotal movement in South African history have begun to emerge.

A poem by Professor Ari Sitas, sociologist, poet and dramatist; lines by an unnamed police officer that have been shared on the Internet and published by Jacaranda FM on its website; a spoken word poem or rap song called “Blood Shed of the Innocent” by a group called Soundz of the South, or SOS; all these have captured some of the threads of thought currently running through South African society.

Poet Rustum Kozain believes that Marikana will not only be a turning point in South African politics and labour relations, but also in the thrust of South African cultural expression. “What happened was a tragedy, but I think there’s going to be a shift in South African culture,” Kozain says.

“I think we are going to see more and more overtly political culture and importantly, it will be more readily available as well. I know in poetry this has been going on since 1994. Poetry that we don’t see in the mainstream – they are published in little magazines, they are performed in [obscure places].”

Kozain agrees that poetry in South Africa has always maintained space for a radical critique of South African society. He adds, “There has been a kind of quietude in South African literature and culture in the past 15 years or so, but I think there’s been a kind of restlessness developing in South African literature.”

It is, of course, the ANC that is in the most influential position to shape South African arts and culture. As the ruling party, it is the ANC that has the power to determine the country’s educational and cultural policies. And of course, this is not unique to South Africa. In any country, the government influences art and literature by making laws and by subsidising schools, universities and the performing arts. And there certainly is an appreciation from government for poetry as a worthy cultural expression. The country’s poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile notably received R1 million in 2007, when his achievements were lauded by government. Former President Thabo Mbeki awarded the Silver Order of Ikhamanga posthumously to Ingrid Jonker, for her contribution to literature and human rights. So there certainly is an appreciation for poetry from government and it is manifest as well in recitations of poetry in official events.

Kozain referred us to an article in literary journal “Mediations” that argues that though poetry is appreciated by the powers that be and even encouraged through competitions on the national broadcaster, the tone of poetry in the public eye in recent years is apolitical.

“Generally speaking, nowadays a plethora of festivals and prizes has emerged aimed at rewarding the utterance of poets, and poetry is a presence on radio and television. The question one must ask of this is (as it always is) what kinds of utterances are rewarded. There is a discernible tendency by organs of the state and big business to turn to poetry in order to communicate marketing and political messages,” the writer, UCT professor Kelwyn Sole, says.

And on cue, “The system is killing us,” warns the concluding refrain in the SOS song.

“We thought we should add value to the voices out there at the moment and add our voices in support of the miners demanding better working conditions, better living conditions and better pay,” explains Anele Africa, a member of SOS.

“In some ways [recording the song] was a learning experience for us, but it was also an opportunity to raise awareness of the lives lost in Marikana,” Africa says.
He describes SOS as a “political arts collective” that combines activism with artistic expression.

“For us, we think music, poetry and arts in general is an important medium to educate and organise but more importantly to advocate for change and justice,” he says.

“I am quite amazed by the song,” Kozain comments.

A persisting criticism of media coverage of Marikana has been a perception of the lack of the police perspective. Jacaranda FM Newscast Editor, Dianne Broodryk, shared a poem sent to her from a member of the South African Police Services, detailing police dissatisfaction with the prevailing narrative on Marikana.

“[A police officer] sent me a poem, to express some emotion from the blue side of the battle. I share it with you, as it gives a voice to the side that cannot speak on their own behalf. Another vantage point, to the dust of confusion that saw policemen become soldiers and mineworkers become warriors,” Broodryk wrote.

Massacre they scream

Murder they cry
They don’t even look at the facts
They don’t ask why
They see the men run
They see police fire!
But before this –
What all did transpire?
They show only minutes
Of what lasted a week
They point fingers and blame
don’t think before they speak
They don’t know what it’s like
to stand in the line
To feel tension and risk
all of the time
They don’t see our planning
Our attempts to bring peace
They just see dead bodies
and point blame at the police
They don’t stop to think
to think of our lives.
We’re just normal people
with family lives
They call them victims
and visit their beds.
They ignore our dead colleagues and just shake their heads.
Though the flag of our nation won’t fly at half-mast, to his name they won’t add a gold star.
The suspect that killed him will stand up in court, with counsel demanding his rights.
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids and spend many long, lonely nights.

Yes, somebody killed a policeman today…
maybe in your town or mine,
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors
A cop put his life on the line.

So I just shrug my shoulders
and keep dressing in blue.
I’m doing my job protecting people like you.
Sometimes it is hard,
the decisions we make –
to protect life and property
and all that’s at stake
We have months’ worth of training and more every day.
We learn tactics and planning
forget what THEY say
We serve with pride
and dignity to boot
and if they don’t recognize this I don’t give a hoot I know I serve proudly and think it all through all for the sake of protecting people like you.
And when the dust has all settled and the blame has been laid.
No flags fly half-masts for dead colleagues
I’ll still be standing here that’s just how I’m made
I stand tall and proud and take it each day
it’s part of the job it’s the policemen’s way
I’m not black or white
I’m really just BLUE and proud of my job – protecting people like you

Kozain believes that the police perspective is particularly significant to our understanding of Marikana. “It is very, very interesting and very important that no matter how the police emerge from this incident, it is understood that the police [are part of] an institution – but that it [the institution] is also made up of individuals, of people who also have stressful work and who are low-paid,” he says.

“They do have guns, of course, which we can’t really equate with the striking miners, but it’s very important…this individual voice, this poem by a police officer, it doesn’t have the lyricism of the [SOS] song or the full literary flourishes of Ari Sitas’ poem, but it’s important to hear that voice just as well.”

The Sitas poem evoked the memory of an Ethiopian shopkeeper in Marikana describing miners as people living underground, in limbo between life and death. Or, as Sitas puts it, “The strike is over, [t]he dead must return to work.”

Sitas explains that the television footage of violence on August 16 moved him deeply. “The imagery haunted me,” he said. “It shook my inners.”

A poem on the unending hurt of Marikana, by Ari Sitas.


The digital images fold as the TV screen tires
The cops, rifles in cabinet, past their third beer are edging towards bed
The night is quiet as the smelter has been closed,
the only music is of the wind on razor wire
the ears are too shut to hear the ancestral thuds on goatskin
humanity has somehow died in Marikana
who said what to whom remains a detailed trifle
the fury of the day has to congeal, the blood has to congeal
I reverse the footage bringing the miners back to life
in vain, the footage surges back and the first bullet
reappears and the next and the next and the next
and I reverse the footage in vain, again and again in vain

The image of the man in the green shroud endures
Who wove the blanket and what was his name?
There are no subtitles under the clump of bodies, no names
stapled on their unformed skull
A mist of ignorance also endures, a winter fog
woven into the fabric of the kill
The loom endures too, the weaver is asleep
The land of the high winds will receive the man naked
The earth will eat the stitch back to a thread
What will remain is the image and I in vain
Reversing him back to life to lead the hill to song
In vain, the footage surges back
another Mpondo, another Nquza Hill, another Wonder Hill
the shooting quietens: another anthill

My love, did I not gift you a necklace with a wondrous bird
pure royal platinum to mark our bond?- was it not the work of the
most reckless angel of craft and ingenuity? Was it not pretty?
Didn’t the bird have an enticing beak of orange with green tint?
Throw it away quickly, tonight it will turn nasty and gouge
a shaft into your slender neck
And it will hurt because our metals are the hardest- gold, pig iron, manganese
yes, platinum
Humanity has somehow died in Marikana

What is that uMzimu staring back at us tonight?
Darken the mirrors
Switch off the moon
Asphalt the lakes

At dawn, the driveway to the Master’s mansion
Is aflame with flower, so radiant from the superphosphates
of bone
of surplus oxygen and cash,
such flames, such a raw sun
such mourning by the shacks that squat in sulphur’s bracken
and I wait for the storm, the torrent, the lava of restitution
the avenger spirits that blunt the helicopter blades in vain

these also endure: the game and trout fishing of their elective chores
the auctions of diamond, art and share
the prized stallions of their dreams
their supple fingers fingering oriental skins and their silver crystals
counting the scalps of politicians in their vault

The meerkat paces through the scent of blood
I want it to pace through the scent of blood,
she is the mascot, the living totem
of the mine’s deep rock,
the one who guards the clans from the night’s devil
she is there as the restless ghosts of ancestors
by the rock-face
feeding her sinew and pap

goading her on:
the women who have loved the dead alive
the homesteads that have earned their sweat and glands
impassive nature that has heard their songs
the miners of our daily wealth that still defy
the harsh landscape of new furies
the meerkat endures-
torn certainties of class endure
the weaver also endures: there-
green blankets of our shrouded dreams
humanity has died in Marikana

The strike is over
The dead must return
to work.

*(after a tough two weeks and seeing Pitika Ntuli’s miner sculpture with the green corrugated iron blanket)

Kozain remarks, “For me, as someone who has great faith in literature addressing the greater question of life, politics, religion and whatever else, it’s important to see the development of artistic expression about Marikana develop. But it is unfortunate that a tragedy like Marikana should have to spark something like this.” DM

Daily Maverick Marikana

Marikana: The next goal for the workers – split from NUM

Daily Maverick, 20 September 2012

There was a festive atmosphere in Marikana on Wednesday as workers cheered on the wage agreement that ended the six-week long strike at Lonmin’s operations in the town. But as workers prepared to return to work on Thursday, they have had set their sights on challenging the National Union of Mineworkers’ dominance at the mine. 

In the parking lot of the Marikana Shopping Centre, a man gets out of a white Mercedes-Benz van bearing the Lonmin brand. Dressed in a black t-shirt and jeans, he strolls into the Pep store and emerges a few minutes later. He heads back to his car, chatting animatedly with a passer-by. He walks with a confident stride, standing out in the small crowd of shoppers.

But it isn’t just his confidence that makes him stand out from the crowd. Emblazoned across the front of his t-shirt is the legend, “Hands off NUM” and across the back, “Hands off COSATU”.

To show such allegiance to the National Union of Mineworkers here in Marikana, where the union is so unpopular, he must be a very brave man – or a very stupid one.

We are determined to find out which.

We approach him, as he stands beside the open passenger door of the car, introducing ourselves with pointed references to the Dictaphone and camera. We are journalists, we explain. We come in peace.

He shakes his head wearily. “I have nothing to say to you,” he says.

He is certainly not menacing. Rather, he seems to express a profound disinterest in us, as well as our questions about his thoughts on the end of the strike.

We press on, smiles pasted securely on our faces, hoping to persuade him to speak to us anyway.

“I have nothing to say to you,” he repeats, this time with a hint of impatience.

We try again.

Daily Maverick: Are you an NUM member at Lonmin?

Comrade NUM: I am a shaft steward.

Daily Maverick: Do you feel safer now that the strike has ended?

Comrade NUM: I am not afraid.

Daily Maverick: But surely you must have feared for your own life when the steward was killed last week?

Comrade NUM: Listen, I have never been afraid.

We watch as he walks around the van. A brave man indeed.

It is, however, another conversation, outside of the town itself, in the crowd of people assembled at Wonderkop Stadium near Lonmin’s smelting operation, that tells the story of NUM more directly.

Ruben Senjane was the chairperson of a workers’ committee at NUM, but was expelled. The rest of the committee was suspended. According to him, he was expelled for being too forthright about NUM’s inadequacies in their representation of workers.

Despite the bravado of the NUM cadre in town, Senjane says NUM office bearers have been in hiding in Marikana. “Most NUM office bearers were granted leave by management because some of them said they feared for their lives,” he says.

He tells Daily Maverick that workers held meetings overnight to transfer their union membership to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) as soon as they returned to work on Thursday.

“Yesterday about 200 employees had taken their membership from NUM to Amcu, because now Amcu is the messiah for the employees. Never in the history of Lonmin and NUM have the employees actually got what they want, especially such a huge percentage of increase,” he says.

The meetings continued on Wednesday with one particular meeting concluding that NUM had to be shut down at Lonmin’s operations.

“There was a meeting at [Eastern Platinum] today [Wednesday],” he explains.

“So the decision that has been taken today at Eastern Platinum [one of four of Lonmin’s operations in its Marikana complex] is that tomorrow all workers are going back to work, but tomorrow the offices of NUM are going to be closed and they want to join Amcu,” Senjane says.

Researchers from the University of Johannesburg who are working in Marikana, as well as a number of mineworkers, further corroborate Senjane’s story. Workers will return to work ton Thursday, but they are set to lobby NUM to have their membership to the Cosatu-affiliated union cancelled, in order for them to join Amcu immediately. They are set as well to demand the closure of NUM’s offices in Marikana and demand that NUM no longer benefit as a recognised trade union at Lonmin.

“Then, there will be a date agreed by all employees to go and close the branch offices [of NUM] forever,” Senjane tells Daily Maverick.

NUM was holding a special national executive committee on Wednesday night to discuss the outcome of the Marikana strike. Spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka told Daily Maverick he was unaware of the intention by the Lonmin workers to resign from NUM. He said they had not learned of any such intention and were confident that their members would remain with the NUM.

But even if workers do not succeed in outmuscling NUM from Lonmin, NUM has already been granted “a cooling-down period” to beef up its membership base at the mine. According to mining insiders, the cooling-down period is included between businesses and unions “because trade union membership in a workplace can fall for many reasons – boredom, natural staff turnover and even administrative problems with the deduction of stop orders for membership fees”.

Lonmin’s head of human resources, Bernard Makwena, claimed last month that NUM was informed in March that the union’s membership at Lonmin had fallen below the minimum 51% set out in a negotiation agreement. The agreement stipulated that NUM would get six months – in this case until September 2012 – to restore membership figures, or new negotiations would have to begin.

Makwena claimed that 21% of Lonmin employees were Amcu members, which means an upsurge of Amcu membership in the coming days and weeks could see NUM losing its privilege as a bargaining partner – not that they were very effective in the most recent negotiations, anyway.

But in the meantime, there may yet be more trouble brewing in Marikana – and NUM doesn’t look well poised to forestall it. DM

Daily Maverick Marikana

Marikana: The strike ends – now what?

The strike in Marikana is over. Workers are preparing to return to work on Thursday and start rebuilding their lives. But why did it take this long? And why did it cost 45 human lives? I took a preliminary look. 

“We are happy with the deal,” Hlongwane, a striking mine worker in Marikana, told Daily Maverick over the phone on Tuesday evening. In the background, the sound of cheering and shouting drowned out his voice. The strike that captivated the world, claimed 45 lives and exposed the flimsy underpinnings of a happy South Africa had ended. The strike in Marikana was really over.

“Following an all-inclusive negotiation process involving trade unions and delegates of striking employees, Lonmin is pleased to announce that it has reached a settlement and a return to work has been agreed for Thursday (20th September),” Lonmin said in a statement late on Tuesday.

According to the agreement brokered by President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Jo Seoka, rock drill operators will now earn R11,078 a month before deductions, production team leaders R13,022 and operators R9,883. Workers will also receive a once-off bonus of R2,000.

But even as workers prepare to return to work, questions are now being asked about what exactly happened six weeks into the strike to facilitate the agreement.

According to Hlongwane, as an ordinary striking worker, the crackdown by police last Saturday had severely affected the morale of striking workers. “They couldn’t push for more than R11,000 because of what happened on Saturday,” he said.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga, however, believes that the agreement also made financial sense to the strikers. “From the part of the miners as well, the strike was beginning to bite too much into their pockets, so they were backed into a corner, forced to accept this moderate offer,” he said. He adds, however, that the successful negotiation with Lonmin without the custodianship of the ANC-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is also telling of inadequate leadership at the mine and an inability on the part of NUM to communicate with workers effectively. “They have toned down their demands and they have accepted R11,000, which you could say is a moderate offer,” he said. “It is an indictment of the ANC and it is a demonstration of how much can be achieved without the ANC.”

Mathekga believes the deal reached between Lonmin and striking workers was actually a lame offering when compared to the demands for R12,500 that raged stubbornly for weeks. “When I look at the initial demand of R12,500 and what they have actually accepted, it’s not an extraordinary deal. It could have been reached in normal circumstances, but it was not,” he says.

Crispen Chingulo, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand whose PhD explores rising dissent in the platinum industry, disagrees that the strike ended with a lacklustre deal.

“It is quite a lot,” he says. “The workers were very close to what they wanted. The initial demand was for R12,500, and R11,000 is not far from that.”

Chingulo, however, feels the results of the wage agreement reached at Lonmin’s Marikana operation may soon have effects on other platinum mines in the region.

“To the other workers in the industry, it may mean if you want an increase, you have to be militant; you have to fight for it,” he says. “What happens next depends on other employees in the platinum mining industry.” The final say on how the Lonmin deal will affect other platinum mines will, however, be determined by mine owners and not workers. “I think mine owners have to come together to look at a generalised bargaining system in the platinum mining industry,” he advises.

Chingulo stresses, however, that this strike was not only directed at Lonmin. It was also a strike against the perception that workers were being represented inadequately.

“This strike was not only against management, it was also a protest against the union,” he says.

Mathekga also believes NUM emerges from the Marikana strike with a badly bruised reputation. “The legitimacy of NUM has been dented severely,” he says.

“To me, it looks like in circumstances where NUM is not involved, workers have a better chance of succeeding with their demands. If you look at the nature of this agreement, you have a watered-down agreement that was reached without the historical stakeholders,” Mathekga says.

He believes that the Marikana deal may actually spell doom for structures like NUM. “I’m foreseeing some circumventing of unions and doing without them,” he explains.

“[NUM] has to look at how it can represent their members better during wage negotiations and how they can win back the confidence of their members,” Chingulo says.

It is, of course, not only NUM that has taken a beating in the last six weeks in Marikana. President Zuma, government and the ANC were unable to take a decisive lead in steering negotiations, or appealing for calm without the aid of the police and the armed forces.

“Marikana shows that the executive is only able to react by showing its authority [with the army and the police] without gaining the trust of the people,” Mathekga says. “This strike has ended, but the trust of government is still at its lowest.”

“The government was unable to put aside its internal differences. Here I’m talking about all the factions within the ANC: pro-Zuma, anti-Zuma and whoever else; the wrongness that unites them in responding to Marikana. They showed they cannot put aside their differences for the interests of others,” he explains.

“They emerge from this looking very selfish.”

It is President Zuma, however, that may be worst off after the conclusion of the strike.

“Jacob Zuma’s enemies have gathered more arsenal against him,” Mathekga says. “Things like the decision to deploy the army – it points to a mishandling of the situation. His enemies now have more evidence of a lack of leadership under his presidency.

“As a leader, he’s going to enter [Mangaung] in the same way Mbeki entered Polokwane, on the back foot,” he predicts.

Chingulo’s predictions are reserved for the future of industrial relations in the country.

“What we saw was that the existing institutions did not have the capacity to deal with problems [in the mining industry],” he explains.

“The end of the strike means a lot, not only to the mining industry but to the whole country. We need to reflect on where we have come from. This strike highlights the fact that nothing much has changed in the mining industry.

“We must ask ourselves now: have the conditions of workers really improved, 18 years after attaining democracy?” he adds.

“It is a turning point in industrial relations in South Africa,” Chilungo concludes, the din of the Cosatu conference raging unperturbed in the background. DM