Working Conditions in De Beers diamond mines - Finsch
I had some difficulty in getting into Finsch
despite the Union telling De Beers they wanted to bring me in. However I did
manage to quietly enter. I wondered if there was something De Beers was hiding.
If there was anything, then I think it was the camp for "sub-contracted"
workers concealed deep within mine property. What I witnessed here was a system
that De Beers commenced after democracy came to South Africa and which it has
since been extending throughout its mines. The miners at Kleinzee had been warned
they would be next - and were dreading its introduction.
It is basically a system by which De Beers increases
its profits by slashing the pay received by the miners to one quarter to one
half of the bare minimum agreed with the Union - in other words to a level where
they cannot possibly support a family.
It does this by employing sub-contracted labour
supplied by Sub-contractors (often white mineworkers). They alleged that thy
have to go to work in unsafe conditions - as De Beers says it is not responsible
for them. They also told me they run a great risk of being sacked if they join
This is one of the buildings in which they live
inside De Beers security perimeter. Its floor was so rotten that bed legs went
through it - forcing the miners to put their matresses on the floor.
The subcontracted mineworkers and their accomodation
within Finsch Mine.
The mine-workers have to buy their food at the
very poorly provided shop on mine-property. They can only afford the very basic
and cheapest items. as can be seen from the nearly empty shelves. There was
no sign of fresh food.
The cooking facility in one of these huts
Typical subcontracted diamond mineworker's accomodation.
Click here to go on to the Koffiefontein
De Beers diamond mine.
Here for De Beers Klienzee diamond
Here for diamond mineworkers in and around
and to many other photos of life inside
a diamond miners hostel
the Children who cut Diamonds for 25c a stone -in slavery as defined by the
Click her to go back to the home
page for this diamond website
To Contact the Author Janine F. Roberts Tap
c2002 Janine Roberts
All Photographs are by Janine Roberts c2002 All Rights Reserved