Unemployment in Chaneng by Mpho Makgene (Chaneng)
Unemployment is a very serious socio economic problem in the country. South Africa citizens are trying everything to make end meet and survive. The community of Chaneng situated 45 km North of Rustenburg, surrounded by several big mining companies Impala and Anglo to mention few. Total number of mining activities taking place in and around Chaneng is 7 and counting as they mushroom overnight. But yet unemployment rate is very high in this community especially Bachana youth.
Few migrant workers said that local residents are lazy to work, they are not hard workers, they only work for a month or few after getting paid they don’t return to work and the migrants see this as survival of the fittest because they take their job seriously, committed as they are breadwinners and have big family to look after as they say. In true sense it survival of the fittest because locals whom are mine employees state that they are placed in unpleasant positions to drive them to quit so that they are seen as lazy.
A local resident by the name of Mokgopa Ramong who worked as a Belt Attendant and assistant team leader at Denvendraft Akjency Contact in Shaft South D at Rasimone in 2001-2003 said that he quitted his job because their working condition was sub-standard place, it was a contract job so you have to obey any rule regardless of how unreasonable it is, you do as you told. He also mentioned that they denied him a team leader position they offered the next person who came after him the position and made him his assistant, he said that the money was fluctuating they didn’t have a fixed salary. He also mentioned that the health conditions was bad, most of the shaft D workers had TB, so he said he refused to work in sub-standard place where they were sent to work and dust levels were high hence he quitted his job, not due laziness.
A 29 year old Chaneng resident man named Baba Loo said that, “I finished my matric in 2004 is now almost 9 years and I have never worked before, I’m living with my mom, brother and my two nephews’ who are schooling and no one is permanently working we survive by piece-jobs and my mother’s pension”. He said that he had sent CVs to different mines but no luck, he also said that the BRPM (Shaft sinkers)took them to Welkom in 2011 for Drill Rig Operator for two months and after finishing the course, BRPM told them that their certificates were invalid, they also taken to Abet for two months to study level 1 and 2 Math’s and English, after completing they were offered a JSE contractual job, they were also offered an RDO course for 1-6 months and were threatened that if they do not enrol for this course their contract will be terminated. They were about 25, “my hopes were high that I will finally get a proper job and help my family, but now am stuck again” said Baba Loo.
(Baba Loo’s documents obtained at the Welkom Drill Operator Course)
A worker who doesn’t want to be named said he has been working at the mines for 9 years, he said he is dedicated to his work but the supervisors don’t care about the workers safety. Its production first and safety last. He also said he doesn’t know his job description and the treatment is very bad, and communication is a challenge because of culture diversity. He said black management are being intimidated by the whites and local says they don’t work well with migrant workers due to cultural ethics, and language diversity.
A car wash owner said that business this year is very slow and strikes on the other side makes things worse, he said last year he used to wash at least 5 cars a day now in a week he washes about 3 cars, its better only during month end and busy weekends, he has four casual assistants and pays them R10 for every car washed, he pays these monthly expenses rent R400, electricity R150. Due to the lousiness of the business he is unable to afford food and clothing compared to when business is running smooth.
(car wash facing lousy business)
Another newly opened car wash owner by the name of Small, said opened it due to unemployment he said he hopes it will be successful.” I was told not to come back due to school politics when I was doing grade 11, besides car washing I sell sweets, cigarettes etc. to make more profit and save the money at the business post office account that they, but car wash is not probably functioning yet due to shortage of materials and equipment’s, but so far so good the taxi drivers and school children are supportive” said Small.
(newly opened car wash)
A local business owner said that unemployment is very high in Chaneng, and as a result people can’t really afford and this slows down the b, he is selling groceries so is a retail shop, he said he do give credit to pensioners and workers as well but some take time to pay and is a loss to the business he said the community should start looking at other opportunities not only in mining industries agriculture as well. The business is very slow as he said.
Statistics S.A shows that unemployment rate in South Africa increased from 24, 10% to 25, 20 % in the 1st quarter of 2014. It also shows that in the first quarter of 2014 South Africa’s jobless rate rose from 24, 1% to 25, 2%. There were 5.067 million people without work from 4.83 million in previous months as stated by statistic South Africa.
Unemployment affect us all especially in our community, grandparents are becoming “breadwinners” because their children are not employed and are unable to enjoy their pension or buy themselves valuable goods. These lead to youth committing crime, developing stress, and dropping from school trying to look for employment to help provide for their families. When the mines started to operate the community was happy that at least there will be employment opportunities but locals are mostly employed on short term contracts (6-12 moths) and after that it’s back to square one.
Communities should start cooperation’s, projects of agriculture and apply for a job in various sectors and departments because we cannot rely only in the mining industries.