"This place is messed up," says BP Madikizela, a contract worker on Lonmin’s Marikana mine, describing the Nkaneng informal settlement where he lives.
His shack is one of the thousands on the flat and dusty expanse of land amid the company’s sprawling mining operations.
Large overhead power lines cut across the sky, down below is a network of rutted, self-made roads joining the unplanned mass of shacks, the town and the shafts and other mine plants and buildings.
› Platinum riches eluding communities
› Investors staying away after Marikana
Most striking about Nkaneng is its sprawling refuse dump that lies on open land between the formal town and the Wonderkop stadium, only a few paces from the nearest households.
Driving past this area last Thursday on his way to the memorial service for the slain miners, Bishop Jo Seoka, the Anglican bishop of Pretoria, was appalled to see a young child picking through the rubbish for something to eat, alongside the foraging dogs that roam the settlement.
In Nkaneng there is no refuse collection, no lighting or electricity and no toilets. People relieve themselves in nearby bushes. Water, according to residents, is provided by Lonmin.
Marikana is part of the Rustenburg municipality.
It was, according to economics consultancy IHS Global Insight, the second-fastest growing area in South Africa in 2010, with a gross domestic product growth rate of 3.9% compared with the national average of 2.8%.
The area is home to several platinum mining operations, two of which - Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum - are the biggest in the world.
The scale of these operations has to be seen to be believed. At Rustenburg, Impala alone employs 30 000 people.
But little of this wealth has found its way into communities such as Nkaneng, just one of several settlements in the Rustenburg area.
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