“My Life is Miserable in the City of Coal” – The story of a coal mine worker
Lorraine Kakaza/Mpumalanga/18thJuly 2016
I meet a man who is originally from Nelspruit. Nelspruit is a capital city of Mpumalanga province located on the Crocodile river in the lowveld region near theMozambiquen broader. His name is Eric Lubisi he moved from his home town to the city of coal is the name of the area, “Emalahleni the City of Coal”
His life started to change for the good because he was able to send money to his wife and his four children. He used to be a mine worker at a company called Vandu mining .
He told me his story:
“I was working as a Diesel mechanic getting a nice salary.I don’t have any complaints up until I got a transfer to a certain mine were I was working as subcontractor at an informal settlement at MNS. The name of the mine was Lack-air. I started working at this mine by June 2015 and I get injured the same year on the 23 of October 2015. I was not satisfied by my salary cause I had to work overtime and I will got approximately R 11,000 (eleven thousand rand) and if I did not cover Sundays it decreases to R6000.000. I was working under pressure and there was no safety at all. I remember my first they I didn’t even go for an induction and there was no safety training ,I could see the situation but the aim was to make money. All this went well until I got injured, then I had to face all the consequences on my own.
“The mining company didn’t call an ambulance, I was helped by colleague on the spot of the incident. We were fixing a dump truck putting a cylinder and were the dump truck was parking there was not enough space and there was no way to uplift the cylinder. We had to use the chain block using our own hands, when we lift it up we had to put it on the trestle and tressel was shaky. It I was time for tea. I said to my college we will finish when we get back, when I was on my way I heard voices ,people screaming at me ” saying I had to be carefull” when I turn my back trying to pay attention, it was too late I use my hand to protect myself the chain-block was coming straight to me, I fell down, it hit me twice. When I awoke I was full of blood.”
“They use Stephan’s car to take me to the hospital. The name of the hospital is called Cosmo’s. The mine bosses didn’t come to see me and they were told that I got injured at the mine premises.”
“I went to the department of labour for help cause I was no longer having any income. I was disappointed in a way that the company was not registered and it was closed for a while cause it was operating illegally. This year on the 4 of April 2016 it opened was open again registered as AP colliery”
“When the mine management was called at department of labour they told me that my contract had expired by December 2015 ,and I was not having a copy to prove them wrong because I knew very well that they were lying and I got injured by October and I was last paid by December”
“The only thing that i received from the private hospital is medication, but I don’t have a medical aid.”
“I’m now disable and no income source. I got my blue card for three months and the situation at home is worse cause I’m no longer working ,hey use to call me anytime but now everything has changed”