Miners’ lives are cheap compared with rising metal prices
Before Covid-19 the mortality rate among former miners in SA was 20% higher than in the general population
Even somebody with the most cursory understanding of SA’s economic and social history knows that the exploitation of cheap black labour has been central to the “development” of SA’s economy. In no sector has this been more prevalent than mining, which since the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley in 1867 and gold on the Rand 19 years later has ruthlessly exploited cheap black labour in its various forms.
Historically, one of the ways in which this exploitation of black labour has manifested is through the appalling health burdens (outside mining accidents) miners have endured, and continue to endure, in SA. These range from exposure to uranium (and radon) in gold mining, asbestos poisoning, above-average levels of HIV/Aids, and chronic illnesses such as silicosis, pneumoconiosis (black lung) and tuberculosis...