A father’s fear

Andries Mlangeni (26) lives in Majakenena, a feeder village for Mooinooi, with his wife and five-year-old son.

He was employed by the mining contractor Red Path until December 2008, when its contract was terminated. Mlangeni earned R3500 as an assistant surveyor at the International Ferro Metal South Africa mine nearby. He had been working at the mine for a year and moved to Majakenena in August last year when he got married. He says that he was given some money when the contract was terminated, but it was not enough.

“They still owe us money, so we are trying to take them to court and I am still waiting for my money from the provident fund,” he says.

“Others who have got their money say it looks as if the company did not make any contribution, it is only the money that employees put in.”

His wife, a domestic worker near Brits, and she earns R1500, R400 of which goes towards taxi fares to get to Brits and back. “We are not surviving on the money she makes. I am trying to get another job and I have a lot of bills to pay,” Mlangeni says.

It’s clear that it is uncomfortable for Mlangeni to speak openly about the emotional impact his inability to provide for his family is having on him. “It is really tough for me,” he says, “sometimes I shout for no reason, I lose my temper easily and I don’t speak well to people.”

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