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Striking miners at Helam live in squalid conditions [So. Africa]

Workers at the Helam diamond mine, in the North West, live in appalling conditions. The hostels are filthy and the grounds stink of raw sewage. In short, the place can be described as unfit for human habitation. The miners are on strike...demanding higher wages, more safety measures and better living conditions. The mine...is owned by Petra Diamonds...Helam's hostels have been in existence since the establishment of the mine in 1932, and are now decrepit. The workers sleep in beds with worn-out mattresses, loose electric cables are found in many areas and open drains and sewage are common on the premises, giving out a sickening stench...Mielie meal destined for the kitchen is stored in a filthy dungeon...[Sheridan Rogers, a spokesperson for Petra] said "We have a plan in place to improve the hostel conditions, including a programme to upgrade them. Natural attrition will also help reduce the number of residents."