Church calls for empathy for striking miners and their families

This soup kitchen is one of a number of outreaches to  people affected by the miners' strike in the Rustenburg area.

This soup kitchen is one of a number of outreaches to people affected by the miners’ strike in the Rustenburg area. About 2 500 Lonmin miners who are AMCU members have been on strike for four and a half months demanding a R12 500 entry-level salary.

The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) has called on financial institutions to show leniency and empathy to mineworkers and their families who are facing extreme financial pressure due to the protracted strike in the platinum belt.

“The tragedy currently playing-out in Rustenburg and surrounds is not a natural disaster but a man-made one. Unfortunately human beings are suffering – many who are totally innocent,” says the AFM in a media statement released yesterday (Thursday, June 5).

The statement continues: “While a number of organizations and churches are doing their best to lessen the negative consequence of this crisis, the reality thereof is worse than anyone could have imagined.

“It is a tragedy that innocent people are losing their homes and vehicles for reasons that are outside their control. One realizes that banks and other financial institutions are profit-driven and that sentiments and consideration of human suffering are mostly not part of their policies.

“Many cases have been reported of people losing their homes. It is not unusual to hear of 6 to 8 families sharing one home! Many were forced to return their vehicles because they cannot afford the monthly installments.

“The AFM, who has several assemblies and many members in the afflicted areas, appeal to the financial institutions to show more leniency and empathy – especially to those who are innocent victims of the strike.

“We also appeal to the different mine-houses to mediate as far as possible to assist in alleviating the disastrous effect of the strike on the lives of employees who have been loyal over many years.

“The AFM this weekend called for a time of special prayer and practical assistance in all its churches. We do however make this special plea to all relevant institutions to take extraordinary steps to mitigate the sorrow and disruption of family life caused by this tragic situation.”