miner thumb medium90 104Sowetan reports that a veteran trade unionist has warned the mining industry and the government that failure to urgently address the issue of thousands of mineworkers who were buried in unmarked graves during apartheid could lead to anarchy.  

James Motlatsi, former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and now recruitment agency Teba’s nonexecutive chairman, was commenting on Sowetan’s recent exposé about unmarked graves of mineworkers who died on duty and were buried by their employers without the consent of their families.  He said:  “Government and the [mining] industry must act now before things get out of hand.  Many people lost their lives in mines during apartheid.  Their families are angry.  Anything can happen.”  SA Destitute Ex-Miners Forum is currently assisting about 18,000 families to trace the remains of their relatives buried at mines across the country.  The forum also wants to force the Chamber of Mines (COM) and government to repatriate the remains for dignified burials.  COM spokeswoman Memory Johnstone said they were willing to assist to trace unmarked graves, but were yet to be approached on this.

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