05 January 2014,Maputo — Mozambican mineworkers employed on South African mines, who spent the festive season on holiday with their families in Mozambique, are beginning to return to South Africa as from Wednesday.
According to statistics from the Labour Ministry, up until 30 December, 36,336 Mozambican workers, by no means all of them miners, had crossed the border from South Africa.
The figure includes those who used buses of the company Vaal Maseru, accredited by the Mozambican government to transport miners and their possessions, and those who used other companies or private cars.
The Ministry notes this is considerably fewer than the 43,692 Mozambicans resident in South Africa, who spent the 2012 festive season in Mozambique.
This was the number transported by Vaal Maseru alone, so the complete 2012 number must have been considerably larger.
Mozambicans began crossing the border in early December, but the peak of the holiday movement came after 20 December when many mines and farms in South Africa closed temporarily, as they granted their workers collective leave.
The peak period for the return to South Africa is 5 January. On that date, work on the mines starts again at 21.00 in the evening. From now until Sunday, the returning miners must catch their buses in order to present themselves for work on time.