OFFICIALS from Lonmin on Monday visited children of four Basotho miners who died in the Marikana massacres of 2012 to assess their progress at New Millennium English Medium Primary and High School.
The South African mining conglomerate bankrolled the 10 children’s education after 44 mine workers, including four Basotho, were killed at one of its mines in the Marikana area between 10 August and 20 September 2012, drawing global condemnation.
Members of the South African Police Service fired live ammunition at hundreds of mine workers striking for more pay, killing the victims.
Following the massacre, Lonmin executives offered jobs to the victims’ direct dependents or any other nominated relatives. The children of the killed miners were enrolled at New Millennium English Medium Primary and High School, with Lonmin also donating 50 machines to the computer laboratory to benefit the entire school.
Lonmin’s Executive Vice-President for Communications and Public Affairs, Lerato Molebatsi, told the Lesotho Times after enrolling the children at the institute, they made it a policy to visit them twice a year.
She said the visit was meant to assess the children’s academic progress and well-being as well as to monitor ongoing projects to develop the school.
“We made it our business to see how the 10 students perform at school and to assess their emotional and psychological wellbeing. So far, we are very much impressed with their work, as some are doing very well while others are average. We are also impressed with the way the teachers care for the children,” Ms Molebatsi said.
“Since the children’s parents are far away fending for them in South Africa, we felt it was crucial to give them all the support we can.”
Asked why they decided to enroll the students at new Millennium English Medium School, Ms Molebatsi said after looking for schools with boarding facilities and quality education, the institute fit the bill.
In addition to the 50 computers, Lonmin is also building a woodwork workshop as well as building latrines and showers at the school.
“We wanted to ensure the children got the best education and donated 50 computers for the computer lab,” she said.
“As much as it is sad to say, even if their parents were alive, some of them would have never afforded the kind of education and benefits they are getting today.”
For her part, New Millennium English Medium Primary School Principal Maliau Rankae said they were working together with Lonmin to ensure the children’s wellbeing.
“We are working very well together in reviewing the children’s progress and discussing how we can move forward in advancing the children’s interests,” Ms Rankae said.