Housing options and mining companies in arid areas


Cloete, JS (2009), Housing options and mining companies in arid areas: The case of Kathu, Northern Cape Province, MA thesis (Sociology), University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.



According to Marais and Venter (2006a), the link between mining, migrancy and housing was fairly well researched before 1994, but since 1994 there has been very little research regarding new approaches to policy and practice to address the specific needs of housing for mineworkers (see Demissie (1998) and Marais and Venter (2006a) as exceptions in this respect). This is an unfortunate turn of events, as the single-sex hostels, which house most of the black1 labour force employed at mines, were among the foremost tools developed under Apartheid for indenturing workers (Demissie, 1998).

The provision of housing to mineworkers is further complicated by the fact that many mineworkers have historically been migrant labourers, either from rural parts of South Africa or from other countries in southern Africa. While the latter class of workers do not have rights to permanent housing in South Africa, the former often prefer to maintain links with what they view as their permanent homes in the rural areas (Crush and James, 1995; Laburn-Peart, 1992). Under apartheid, the ability to migrate of both classes of mineworkers was restricted and regulated by a series of race-based legislative interventions. In the process, the mining compound, closely associated with migrant labour, was historically the main form of housing for black mineworkers.


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