Tunatazama - Community Monitors


Menge Agnes Choledi

It is disheartening and a major concern for the residents of Itumeleng to see how slowly the process of rebuilding the houses is moving. Houses are being rebuilt but to the detriment of the beneficiaries. The quality of the house is substandard and very poor in some instances. The contractors are given a blank cheque to run away with murder, there’s no law abidance in the whole process. 

The contractor’s name is NU BOSS, with a lot of subcontractors from Limpopo and a few others from Jagersfontein. What is ironic is that the same people who brought disaster to our town are the ones who are now benefitting from this process. They are not paying the workers on time and are not even registered with the Department of Labour. 

Safety rules are not followed and adhered to for those working on-site, workers are not provided with protective clothing and others are working in their private clothes. Payments are always delayed and some workers are paying themselves with company equipment. The contractor owes many of his workers unpaid wages, the vehicles are not roadworthy and some of the contractors don’t have the required skills for the job. The main contractor consists of one big family member of Bilankulu from Limpopo, we don’t benefit anything as the people of Jagersfontein. The only people who are benefitting are those who are close to the ruling party. 

I’m a new member of the Bench Marks Foundation monitoring school, as a young woman and a mother I have first-hand experience of a community living under harsh conditions of poverty and hardship. I’m a mother of twins who had to run away when the disaster struck and I was heavily pregnant. I gave birth prematurely after the incident but fortunately, I was able to survive and my twin babies were saved. I have decided to join the monitoring school after I have witnessed how my community is suffering under the exploitation of the mining company. My mission is to fight to bring change in my community and to advocate for justice. That is simply my reason for choosing to be an activist. 

Every day I witness how many people are being ill treated by the construction companies. We receive complaints every day from the workers who are facing unfair labour practices from the construction companies. Shoddy workmanship is the order of the day and we hope that our participation in the monitoring school will assist us through the support of the Bench Marks Foundation to get a strategic intervention.

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