|dc.contributor.advisor||Barnard, S. L.||
|dc.description.abstract||There are many roleplayers in the transformation process of the black gold
mine-worker in the South African mining industry. These include the South African
government, the mining companies, the Chamber of Mines, white mine-workers and
finally the black workers themselves. The black labourers were first subsistence
farmers, who came to the gold mines on an involuntary and temporary basis. When
they could no longer survive on their subsistence economy, they looked to the mines
for a steady income.
Meanwhile, their lives were transformed as they came into contact with Western
civilization. The migrant labour pattern has had tremendous effects on the general way
of life of the black man in South Africa. He was not only transformed as a labourer, but
as a person as well.
For many decades the black labourer was not allowed to become involved in trade
union activity. NUM was only granted access to Harmony Gold Mine in 1988 and then
the workers united and demanded better wages, as well as improved living and working
conditions. The important role NUM played in the transformation process of the black
workers should not be overlooked. For the black workers there was strength in
The Free State Goldfields came into production in the 1950s and the mining industry
arrived al a crossroad. It could maintain the unskilled status quo of the black labour
force or transform the industry and grant black labourers the same rights as whites.
Political barriers and economic necessity prevented the industry from taking a new
course and established labour structures were implemented on the Free State mines.
The colour-bar was only removed in the mining industry in 1988 and black miners could
only then obtain a blasting certificate and advance in their workplace.
Working in a gold mine, was and still is dangerous. However, the mines have an
envious record of maintaining high safety standards and providing excellent medical
facilities for their workers. At Harmony Gold Mine, pioneering work is done in the field
of AIDS and the Harmony Hospital is quite modern and well-equipped.
Training facilities and career opportunities for the black workers have improved
tremendously over the last few years. The black gold mine-worker of the nineties is
better-trained, more productive and more informed than many years ago. They are still
migrant workers, but their contracts have been extended to a period of 12 months.
Conditions in the hostels improved likewise and facilities like M-Net and quarters for
married workers are provided The black workers' diets are scientifically determined
and many sports facilities are readily available.
The black labourers have not reached a utopia. Migrancy has its negative effects on
family life, alcohol abuse IS a problem and the HIV virus poses a severe threat
Improved productivity has led to down-scaling of the work force and unemployment IS
rampant. Black gold mine-workers in the nineties have become integrated in the
industry and in the economy of South Africa. A phenomenon which was postponed for
many years and which leaves behind a history of hardship and struggle.||en_ZA
|dc.publisher||University of the Free State||en_ZA
|dc.subject||Mines and mineral resources -- South Africa -- Free State -- History||en_ZA
|dc.subject||Miners -- South Africa -- Free State -- History||en_ZA
|dc.subject||Miners -- Employment -- South Africa -- Free State -- History||en_ZA
|dc.subject||Thesis (D.Phil. (History))--University of the Free State, 1998||en_ZA
|dc.title||The transformation in the status of the black worker in the Free State Gold Mines, 1946-1995||en_ZA
|dc.rights.holder||University of the Free State||en_ZA