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Letters from our readers 1986 No 8

Dear Learn and Teach I read the letter from Phuthiatsana of Witsieshoek who asked for Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial. I am also interested in it and want you to send me a copy of the full speech. Secondly, we have a big problem with our new organisation, the Eastern Transvaal Youth Congress. We started this organisation in September 1985. There is no progress because we have no experience. We know there is a need to politicise, mobilise and organise, but we do not have the knowledge to put these into practice. We do not have more than fifty members. Comrade ACORNHOEK

Thank you for your letter, Comrade. We are sending you the longer version of Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial. We have passed your letter on to the United Democratic Front and the Soweto Students Congress. We hope they will be able to give you some help. Things are difficult for all community and political organisations at the moment. Maybe with some help from youth congresses and community organisations in other parts of the country, you will progress. Even with 50 members, you can do a lot. Any readers who want to help the ETYC can send their letters to Learn and Teach and we will pass them on.

Dear Learn and Teach Thank you for your magazine. Number 6 was very special to me because you wrote about my country, Namibia. Also, Mr Mandela’s speech was very important to me because we do not hear much about the ANC and its leaders. But I had a problem with the language you used in the magazine. I did not understand words like “batho ba, ba phapha…” Will you please give the English of these words in future so that everybody can understand. Rikambura Kamunguma WINDHOEK

Thank you for pointing out the problem you had with the Sotho we used in number 6. We will make sure we always write words in English in future. It is very difficult to write the township language Thomas uses in English. The words “batho ba” mean “these people” and the words ‘ba phapha’ mean they are flying .” But in the story, Thomas means, “These people, they think of everything.”

Dear Learn and Teach We are workers from Delville Extension 4 in Germiston. At the supermarket where we buy our lunch, there is tax on all food. We are surprised to see that one cent buys nothing from this shop — everything is taxed. According to the tax rules, food must not be taxed. But we are forced to pay tax there. They charge tax on milk, fat cakes, plates, slices, meat, eggs and sweets. What can we do? Delville workers GERMISTON

Thank you for your letter. General Sales Tax is difficult to understand because shops can charge tax on some foods, but not on others. A general rule is that fresh, uncooked food does not have tax. It is against the law for shops to ask for tax on foods like fresh milk, fresh meat, fresh fish, eggs, butter, margarine, fresh fruit and vegetables. Bread and mealie meal also do not have GST. But all cooked foods like fat cakes, cooked meat, fried fish, chips, plates and cooked eggs do have GST. The shopkeeper is right to charge tax on these foods. He can also charge tax on any processed food — that is any food which has been made — like cheese, yoghurt, tinned food, cakes, biscuits and sweets. Shops cannot charge GST on bread — even if it has been cut into slices — so long as nothing has been put on the bread. If the slices have butter or margarine, the shop can charge tax. If you feel this shop is cheating you, you can report it to the tax inspectors. Write to, or telephone: Mr Victor GST Inspectors Receiver of Revenue 72 Plantation Road Germiston 1401 Tel: (011) 825 1270 You must give him the shop’s name and address. A tax inspector will visit the shop to check up on the taxes. Other readers who want to report shops which charge too much GST can find the address of the tax inspectors in the Government section at the back of the telephone book. The inspectors are at the offices of the Receiver of Revenue, under the Department of Finance.

Dear Learn and Teach I am a Learn and Teach reader. I have not missed one copy since 1984. Now I would like you to put my story in the magazine. I was fired from my job as a shelf packer at the OK Bazaars. Will you come to visiit me at home or shall I write my story for you? Bheki Nkosi WATTVILLE

We want you to write your story for our magazine. In 1987 we will be starting a new column called “Our readers write…” We would like to print your story in this column. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dear Learn and Teach, My fellow comrade is in the Middleburg Prison for 18 months. He wants to study while he is inside. But the prison will not let him study. He wants to start Standard 8 in January. How can we get permission for him to study? G S Mfamana 29th of September Street KWANONZAME

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear of your friend’s problems. All prisoners can study unless the prison refuses permission for a special reason. Your friend should be allowed to study and write Standard 8 exams in prison. You must arrange for him to study through a correspondence school. You must also pay all the fees and buy his books, stationery and anything else he needs for studying. We suggest you write to the head of the Prison. Ask him for permission for your friend to study by correspondence. Maybe it is the prison warders who are stopping your friend from studying. The address to write to is: Head of the Prison Private Bag X517 Middleburg 5900 In the meantime, you can arrange a Standard 8 correspondence course through: Damelin College P O Box 4129 Johannesburg 2000 Tel: (011) 337 1210 P.S. We were very interested to see you live in 29th of September Street. Could you write to tell us how your street got its name? We would like to tell all our readers.

Dear Learn and Teach I am in matric this year. I want to study some more, but my parents do not have money. Please tell me where I can get a bursary. Johannes Mbiza BAKENBERG

Thank you for your letter, Johannes. If you want to know about bursaries, you must go to the E.I.C. Their address is: Education Information Centre 601 Dunwell House 35 Jorissen Street Braamfontein 2001 Tel: (011) 339-2476 42

Dear Learn and Teach I am a very desperate mother of three. My problem is that I am a bit deaf. My ears were hurt when I worked in a noisy factory. When I am in a quiet place.l can- not hear anything. I worked at this factory for seven years, from 1973 to 1980.1 was fired for no reason. My problem is that I cannot find another job because I cannot hear well. Please tell me where I can claim for the damage to my ears. I also want to know how I can get a hearing aid. Funky Mazibuko KWATHEMA

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to hear of your problem. Please go to the Industrial Aid Society to get help. Take any letters, or medical reports about your hearing problem that you have. The I.A.S. knows how to claim for damage caused at work. They also have doctors who can help you. They will tell you how to get a hearing aid. You might have problems getting money because it is such a long time since you left the factory. But go to the I.A.S. and speak to them. Tell them you are the person who was sent by Learn and Teach. Their address is: The Industrial Aid Society 3rd Floor, Camperdown House 99 Polly Street (corner Kerk) Johannesburg Tel: (011) 23-8467

Dear Learn and Teach I am in love with my girlfriend. She is now pregnant. We have some serious problems. Problem number one is that her mother does not like me. She tells her daughter to leave me. Problem number two is that her mother tried to give her pills for an abortion. My girlfriend told this to her grandmother. We love each other. My heart is on her and I believe hers is on mine. We don’t know what to do. Worried Young Man TZANEEN

We are very sorry to hear of your problems. Maybe you could ask a relative to help you talk to your girlfriend’s parents. Maybe you can ask your girlfriend’s grandmother to help. Try to sort things out with her mother. If this fails, your girlfriend will have to chose between you and her mother. It is not an easy choice. Get all the help you can from friends and family. But remember, in the end, you and your girlfriend must decide on your future together. Let us know what happens. Good luck!

Dear Learn and Teach I am writing to get advice for my neighbour, Mr Simon Moholo. He worked for Union Wine in Bloemfontein for 26 years. He had to leave because of illness. Union Wine did not give him any notice pay or pension. Mr Moholo does not know if he can get a pension from the company. I looked at his pay slip, but there were no details of deductions for pension — only the total amount. Can you believe that a successful company like Union Wine does not have a pension fund? I personally think that if that is true, it is very unfair. I feel sorry for Mr Moholo who has nothing after working for many years. Stories like Mr Moholo’s must be a lesson to other workers who are not union members. If Mr Moholo had joined a trade union, he would have got help. What can I do to help him? Philemon Tsese ROCKLANDS

We spoke to Union Wine in Bloemfontein about Mr Moholo’s pension and other benefits. They told us that Union Wine started a pension scheme for black workers only in July 1986 this year. Before July 1986, Union Wine’s black workers did not pay money to a pension fund. In South African law, employers do not have to have pension funds. Union Wine said that they paid Mr Moholo notice pay and leave pay. The manager, Mr Wolhuter, said the company gave proper payslips. He also the company helped Mr Moholo to ask for a disability pension from the government. He said Mr Moholo was sick for a long time and could not work again. But Mr Moholo is not old enough for a government pension. He can get this when he is 65. Mr Wolhuter also said that Union Wine gave Mr Moholo a chair worth R300 as a gift. We do not think there is much you can do to help Mr Moholo if what Union Wine says is true. You could make sure that Mr Moholo gets his disability pension. If he has problems with this, take him to see the social worker at your local administration offices.

Dear Learn and Teach I forgot to renew my subscription because I was away from home. Please find enclosed my new subscription. It really means a lot to me to hold this magazine in my hands — it is eye-opening. I also want to tell you and the readers about our struggle to get a union at our factory. After three years of struggling, Naschem has recognised our union, the Chemical Workers Industrial Union, a COSATU union. Heytadaar! Travolta SEBOKENG

Thanks for your letter. We are glad you have renewed your subscription. Learn and Teach needs readers like you. We also found out a bit more about your struggle at Naschem. CWIU says it is happy to win after such a long fight. The union now wants to get stop orders so that union subscriptions can be taken off workers’ pay. The union says the struggle is still a long one. Good luck!

Dear Learn and Teach I am very interested in Learn and Teach Publications. I would like to write a book. Please tell me how to do it. I have a long story to tell. It is from my childhood. Diliza KWANOBUHLE

It is difficult to write books and get them published. First you have to write your story, then send it to publishers to see if they want to print it and sell it for you. In South Africa there are a few publishers who are starting to publish stories like yours. First write your story, then send it to these publishers: *Ravan Press PO Box 31134 Braamfontein 2017 *Skotaville Publishers P O Box 32483 Braamfontein 2017 If you want to start by writing a short story, send it to us at Learn and Teach. We will try to put it in the magazine.

Dear Learn and Teach I want to be a male nurse. Where can I go for training? Rachidi Marobane OHRIGSTAD

You can find out about training to be a male nurse from: The South African Nursing Council PO Box 1123 Pretoria 0001 Good luck!

Dear Learn and Teach I am a writer. My book “Man Against Himself” has been all over South Africa. I am busy writing about our township life. I want to visit Learn and Teach. What must I do? Joel Matlou MABOPANE

Thank you for your letter. We are happy to hear about your book. We would like to read it. Please phone us to make arrangements to come to visit us at our office. We look forward to meeting you.


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