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1. Introduction One of the major unaddressed questions in the migration and development literature is what happens to development when migration goes into decline. The South African mining industry provides an excellent test case as it has shed over 200,000 jobs in the last decade. Many rural sending areas have had to contend with the impact of returning ex-miners. This chapter examines the case of the Eastern Cape, long dependent on mine migration yet also one of the poorest regions of the country. In the past three decades, numerous studies have been undertaken on the role migrants play in the economy of the sending areas, as well as the effects of migrancy on the family and household (Beinart, 1979; Bundy, 1979; Murray, 1981; May, 1984; Muller, 1984; Spiegel, 1987). More recently, scholars have examined the impact of restructuring in the mining industry on the mining environs and, to some extent, in Lesotho and other southern African countries (Crush & Yudelman, 1991; Steinberg & Siedman, 1995; Chirwa, 1997; Crush et al., 1999, 2000). However, none of this recent literature examines the effects of mining restructuring in the former Transkei – the most underserviced and impoverished of the Bantustans and one of the key sources of migrant labour for the mining industry (Steinberg & Seidman, 1995). This chapter seeks to fill this lacuna in the literature by presenting data on the effects of restructuring in the former Transkei. ANXIOUS COMMUNITIES: THE DECLINE OF MINE MIGRATION IN THE EASTERN CAPE XOLA A. NGONINI 11 Chapter|183| 2. Methodology Ex-migrant workers look to the future with fear and hopelessness, shrouded by uncertainty, but marked by a nostalgic reverie of what could have been a route to ‘modernity.’ Against this background, the research examined the links between the ex-migrants and their communities and the mining industry. To understand the impact of retrenchments required immersion in the realities of anxious communities caught in the throes of restructuring industries. The author thus spent time with the ex-migrants and their families gaining insights and trying to understand the situation they were in. The study had a three-pronged approach of unstructured interviews, participant observation and social biography of migrant workers. The unstructured interviews were conducted with ex-migrants to gather their individual perceptions of, and reflections on, the turn their life had taken as a result of retrenchment. However, in rural areas, unlike urban ones, employment is also a socially observed function, open to the whole community. The author therefore also interviewed ex-migrants’ dependents, and community members who knew them, and observed what kind of work they had done while employed, to see how retrenchments had affected the ex-migrants’ social lives. The aim was to reveal the sufferings and felt needs of the actors in a social group by seeing them as the result of structural conflicts in the social order. The villages studied, Nyanisweni and Dutyini, are in the southeast of the coastal Pondoland region in the former Transkei. Nyanisweni is ten kilometres and Dutyini about 40 kilometres from the town of Mbizana. Both fall under the Mbizana Municipality, which is under the OR Tambo District Council – a compendium of various municipalities, such as Ntabankulu, Ingquza, Mhlontlo, King Sabata Dalindyebo, Nyandeni and Port St Johns – with an 80 per cent unemployment rate. According to StatsSA (2005), Mbizana has a population of 1 604 411 and covers an area of 2411 square kilometres. The Eastern Cape is the poorest province in South Africa. It includes the former homelands of Transkei and Ciskei and has a population of 6,2 million people. Its poverty levels are the highest in the country, with an estimated 80 per cent of the population living in poverty, and it has an unemployment rate of 80 per cent. The former Transkei is the poorer of the two former homelands. Nearly 80 per cent of the homesteads have no running water, more than 50 per cent have no electricity and 58 per cent are further than five kilometres from a health clinic. Poverty is deeply rooted in this province, with 27 per cent of households earning less than R400 per month and only 11 per cent earning more than R1500 per month (PSLSD, 1993; CSS, 1995; May et al., 1998). The majority of the people have no schooling and 60 per cent of the children who attend school have to walk a long distance to get there (StatsSA, 2005). The economic growth of the new era has increased the demand for skilled...


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