The socio-economic conditions of the miners has come into sharp focus. Miners living in appalling conditions is one of the factors which may underpin the recent tragedy at Lonmin. They toil in hellish heat deep underground, drilling the rockface for the precious platinum metal.
By contrast, the miners living conditions are unsettling. The infrastructure is piece meal, make shift and aging. The roads are terrible and housing is an endemic problem. Hardship and poverty vie with each other for ascendancy.
The South African Communist Party(SACP) says the judicial commission of inquiry should also probe these issues. Government agrees their living conditions are appalling.
The mining company at the centre of the dispute says the problem is bigger than the mining sector. Lonmin says poor socio-economic conditions affect the entire country.