Lily Mine closure is bad for business

2017-02-03 12:36
Safdar Rehman, a Louiville spaza shop owner. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

Safdar Rehman, a Louiville spaza shop owner. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Barberton – Since the Lily Mine was mothballed, life has been harder for the owner of a spaza shop in nearby Louieville.

“The mine workers were good for business, but since the closure, I have been struggling to make profit. I am starting to eat my own stock,” Safdar Rehman says. 

His black hair is combed back, his beard is greying and his handshake firm. He moved to South Africa from Pakistan in 2009 and opened his shop in 2011. His goal was to start small and open a few more shops in the area. 

“I had a poor life in Pakistan and just wanted to make things better for myself. In South Africa you don’t need a lot of money to survive,” he says. 

He spends R150 on diesel daily commuting from his home in Barberton, about 50km from Louieville. 

There is pride in his voice when he speaks about his Swati wife. 

“Most people stay together [unmarried], but I wanted to do the right thing. I married her and she makes me happy. We are a family.”

He speaks to his customers in siSwati, which his wife taught him. They have no children yet. 

 “The community accepted me with open arms. I never had any problems with anyone. If you make me happy, I will make you happy. There is no crime here.”

He remains hopeful that things will turn around. 

Read more on:    lily mine  |  mbombela  |  lily mine collapse
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