Aurora 'taints' Mandela legacy

2010-10-21 17:08

kalahari.com

  • Zuma Exposed
    This book exposes Jacob Zuma, in such a way that he would not want you or anyone else to read it. Now R189.00
    buy now
Springs – For Johannes Sabatana, the names "Mandela" and "Zuma" spell hunger, desperation and a possible life in crime.

Sabatana lives jobless and penniless on Grootvlei mine in Springs on Johannesburg's East Rand, and he has been playing with a terrifying thought recently: Where can he get a firearm?

He was born on the mine 31 years ago, where poverty-stricken miners last received salaries eight months ago from Aurora – the company run by among others Mandela's grandson, Zondwa, and Zuma's nephew Khulubuse.

Aurora has made a bid to buy the struggling mine, but has battled to secure funding.

Sabatana's mother, Sophie Mashile, 61, recalls how "Grootvlei was right" in the old days, compared to today, where she and Johannes and her ailing husband survive on "tyre money" – her son gets 50 cents for every tyre he rolls from the mine into town.

But now the "white guy" who was buying the tyres has told him he did not need any more tyres.

Sabatana says he sat outside their hostel on the run-down mine property this week, trying to figure out new ways to get money.

Turn to crime

"You know what I was thinking? I was thinking, where can I get a firearm," he says, twirling his hair nervously with his finger.

"I'm thinking to be a criminal because I am so desperate," says Sabatana, as his mother looks on with a disapproving frown.

Sitting on a worn couch in a small, dusky living room, he points to a white plastic bucket in the kitchen area.

"See that? That is our toilet. In the kitchen," he says grimly.

"My mother is old; she can't take the bucket out when I'm not here."

He struggles to find words to express his anger, which he directs at Mandela's grandson and Zuma's nephew, both of whom are directors of Aurora.

What would he want to say to them?

Too hungry

"I am too much angry."

He hesitates, then throws his hands in the air.

"There is no money, no fokol," he says in a bitter voice, as his heavy-set mother lets out a sigh.

"Have you ever been without food for five days?" he asks, before falling silent.

Sabatana looks up again when the Sapa photographer takes pictures of him.

"Will you bring me the picture of myself," he asks. "I've never had a picture of myself."

National Union of Mineworkers branch chairperson, Frasy Namanyana, 37, who has worked on the mine since 1996, says some survive on sporadically donated food parcels.

"There is no water. Sanitation we can't speak about," says Namanyana, who was getting ready to address the miners in the overgrown amphitheatre to brief them on the status of their provident fund payments.

Neglected mine premises

Miners strolled from their hostels onto the neglected mine premises, where the clinic, shop and mining offices are all closed.

Most walked past a lone entrepreneur, who had set up a makeshift table with a cardboard box, trying to sell sweets and cigarettes.

The veld is dotted with piles of rubbish, a broken soccer ball lies forgotten between litter, parts of the hostel's tin roof has collapsed, exposing cracked walls, one painted with the word "amor" in red.

The pale mine dump looms in the background, mining equipment stands unused.

Namanyana shakes his head as he watches the miners gather.

"We tried to call them (Mandela and Zuma), and asked them to come speak to the workers. They said, no, the workers will kill them.

"The wanted to apologise through us. We said we are not their messengers, we are not representing them. We are representing the workers," says Namanyana.

Destroying the Mandela name

"They are destroying the Mandela name."

He enters the amphitheatre where rows of miners wait to hear the latest news, some holding up umbrellas as protection from the sun.

The meeting opens with a prayer as the highveld wind ruffles through the trees.

"They just pray so that God can help, so that everything we say can come true," explains Namanyana.

He is the bringer of better news this time – there is a chance that the Provident Fund may pay out some money.

The miners have been through a tough time.

Pamodzi Gold mine ran into financial difficulties in 2008 already, and, since then, several funding possibilities had fallen through.

Earlier this year, Aurora, whose directors also include Zuma's lawyer, Michael Hulley, announced that it had secured enough funding to buy Pamodzi's Grootvlei and Orkney mines, which employed some 5 000 workers, from its liquidators.

Empty promises

But red tape and empty promises have left the miners unpaid for eight months now.

Sabatana's mother, Sophie, says conditions at the mine had changed dramatically over the years.

"Grootvlei was right," she says, holding her thumb up.

"It changed a lot. You see now, there's nothing here.

"There's no paint, they don't do nothing, there's no transport to take for the dustbins, there's nothing."

Where will she and her husband and her son go if the mine shuts down?

This is her home, she says.

Behind her on the wall hang pictures of her grandchildren in colourful frames.

Sabatana looks at the Sapa photographer.

"Will you really bring me that picture?" he asks again.
- SAPA

Read more on:    aurora  |  jacob zuma  |  zondwa mandela  |  nelson mandela  |  khulubuse zuma  |  mining
NEXT ON NEWS24X

EFF sees red over Hitler

2014-07-23 22:28

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Gordons Bay - 18:30 PM
    Road name: R44 Faure Marine Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED at Suikerbossie Drive due to roadworks until 5am - traffic diverted - expect delays
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 18:01 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.