There is an unusual flurry of activity at Christo Mostert’s modest home in the otherwise ghostly quiet suburb of Koornfontein in Blinkpan, in the midst of the Mpumalanga coal fields. The people gathered there pray, before lining up to collect their parcels. The bag of maize meal, some potatoes, cereals and other basics will tide them over for a short while. It’s a more orderly scene than two weeks earlier, when 123 people arrived at the house. Fortunately, a last-minute maize meal donation meant no-one had to leave empty-handed. The destitute workers of Optimum Coal last received a pay cheque in October, and it’s thanks to the work of Mostert and other community members, who recently formed a nonprofit organisation called Feed the Miner, that they are able to get by. One employee, who like her colleagues asks not to be named, says she received a parcel last time. "If it wasn’t for that … " she trails off. "I’m sitting out this week. I would like to get next time, but then they need ...

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