Letters from our readers 1987 No 3


Dear Learn and Teach, Learn and Teach is my favourite magazine because you help workers to solve their problems. I want to help the domestic workers of Upington to join a trade union. My fellow working mothers are getting R40 a month. I was a shop steward for Food and Canning Workers Union. But I was fired after I joined the union. Now I work in a shop. I work from 8 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock. I do all the cleaning, dusting, and deliveries. I also serve in the shop and have to go to the post office. I want to go forward to solving the problems of South Africa. I am really sick of these bosses. I want to help my brothers and sisters in their struggle. Please send us trade union forms for domestic workers and for women who work in restaurants and shops. Working Mother PABALLELO

Thank you so much for your letter. We were happy to hear that you are still fighting for your rights, even after the problems you had at work. Please write to the head offices of these trade unions. Domestic workers must write to: South African Domestic Workers Union 9th floor, Cosatu House 268 Jeppe St JOHANNESBURG 2001 Shop workers must write to: Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union 4th floor, Cosatu House 268 Jeppe St JOHANNESBURG 2001 Restaurant workers must write to: Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union 8th floor, Cosatu House 268 Jeppe Street JOHANNESBURG 2001 Good luck!


Dear Learn and Teach, I am 19 years old. I attend school at Piet Retief. I am writing for my fellow students. Your magazine helps us in many ways. It tells us about what is happening in other townships, on the mines and other places. The problem is that the person who used to sell Learn and Teach to us was detained for two weeks. Now he is afraid to be a bookseller. And now we hear nothing of what is happening. Is there another way we can get the magazine? Other people want to sell Learn and Teach, but we do not know how. Hungry for news PIET RETIEF

Thank you for writing to us. We were sorry to hear that your friend was detained and that he can no longer sell the magazine. Maybe three or four people can sell the magazines in Piet Retief in future. Then if one person is detained, or can not sell the magazines for any reason, the other people will still have magazines to sell. We will be happy to send the magazines to the address you gave.


Dear Learn and Teach, Greetings to all writers of Learn and Teach. Your magazine has opened my eyes. I am an agriculture student at Tsolo in Transkei. I want you to help my father get his pension from the Second World War. He wrote to Pretoria and they promised to send him a pension from September 1985, but it never came. We even asked the magistrate at Matatiele to help. We really need this pension so that my three small sisters can go back to school. Abraham MATATIELE

Thank you for your letter. We think the best people to help your father get his pension are the South African Legion.Write to: The National Secretary S.A. Legion National Headquarters P.O. Box 8751 JOHANNESBURG 2000 Give them all the details of your father’s war service, and send copies of any documents you have about his service. If your father can travel to Johannesburg, he can go to the Legion’s office at: 3rd floor Aegis Building Loveday St (between Fox and Commissioner Sts) Telephone: (011) 834 4881 They are open from 9 o’clock to half past twelve on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We were interested to see you are at school in Tsolo. We would like to know what happened after the terrible storm last year. Please write to let us know.


Dear Learn and Teach, I was very happy to see that most of your readers liked the story about Mr Mandela. Mandela is a mysterious man – we know so little about him. Please send me his speech. I also want to know if mine workers can belong both to the National Union of Mineworkers and the United Democratic Front? At our mine, we want to unite the miners and the Thabong residents. Then we can help to solve each other’s problems. Unity is Strength WELKOM

Thank you for your letter. We think that workers and people in the communities are stronger if they work together. We feel sure the local organisations will be very happy to work with you. You can also ask other unions in Welkom to work with you. You will be stronger if you work together.


Dear Learn and Teach, I have just finished reading No 1 of this year, and I found it very interesting. I liked the story about Beyers Naude very much. I also read letters from readers who asked for Nelson Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia Trial. I also want it. Here in our place, we do not get much news of our country. The homeland police take whatever books people send us. Interested reader SHAYANDIMA

Thank you for your letter. Many people have written to ask us for Mandela’s speech. We want to make a special booklet with the speech and a story about the Rivonia Trial. We hope to do it soon. In the meanwhile, we will send you the speech.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am asking for your help. I worked for a firm in Queenstown which sold alarms. I worked for commission only. The owner was Mr Bishop. He sold the business and went to Johannesburg. He still owes me a few hundred rand in commission, but he refuses to pay me until my customers pay their accounts in full. Please help me and talk to Mr Bishop for me. I have his number in Johannesburg. Moses EZIBELENI

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to Mr Bishop. He said that the people who owe most of this money are relatives of K D Matanzima. He has hired a lawyer to take these people to court. The problem seems to be that the clerks of the court are too scared to tell these people to come to court. Mr Bishop says you must contact him in Johannesburg.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am struggling with no job. I must get a job. I am going to kill myself because I have a baby boy. He is two months old and he’s got no milk. I think that my head is broken from sadness. But I believe Jesus will help me. Please find me a job, Learn and Teach, because I trust you. William MOHLAKENG

William, we were so sad to read your letter. We are very worried that you feel so unhappy. We ask anyone who can offer you a job to contact us and we will tell them how to get hold of you. In the meantime, maybe you could get help from one of these places: Mrs Georgina Mthembu Methodist Church Mohlakeng Tel: (011) 694-1473 or Mrs Mashigo Social worker Commissioner’s offices First Street Randfontein Tel: (011) 693-5284 We spoke to both of these people and they say you must come and see them.


Dear Learn and Teach Greetings to all in the house of Learn and Teach! Your magazine is better than any other magazine. May you go forward every day. I want to buy insurance. I am worried because I have heard stories about insurance companies that rob people. Do they still do this? How can I be sure I will not be cheated? What can I do if I am robbed by an insurance company? M. Nhlapo JOHANNESBURG

Thank you for your letter, Mr Nhlapo. We are sorry to say that we still get many complaints about insurance companies. Maybe the following points will help you to find a good insurance firm.

  1. Buy insurance from one of the big firms. If you can, visit their offices before you sign the policy. If the offices are small and dirty, don’t buy insurance from them.

  2. Read the policy very carefully. Before you sign, ask the agent to explain anything you do not understand. Ask him to explain exactly how much you must pay every month.

  3. Agents will tell you that you can borrow money from the insurance company after you have paid your instalments for some time. Be sure that you know how many instalments you must pay before you can borrow. Also find out how much money you can borrow.

  4. Find out what will happen to the money you have paid if you cannot pay your instalments – for example, if you lose your job. All insurance policies say how long you must pay your instalments before you can get any money back. This is called the surrender value’ of your policy. Some insurance companies will not pay you any money if you stop paying within two years. Other insurance companies say you must pay for a longer time.

  5. If you are unhappy with your insurance policy, you can complain to: Life Officers Association P.O. Box 5023 CAPE TOWN 8000

Dear Learn and Teach, I worked as a salesman from 1955 to 1987. I am now 55 years old. My problem is that I do not know where to get a pension. Can I get one at my age? Paulus Kodisang SHARPEVILLE

Thank you for your letter. We are not sure if you are still working as a salesman, or if you are now unemployed. If you are still working, ask your employers if you can join their pension fund. If your employers do not have a pension fund, maybe you could buy a life insurance policy that would pay you later. You can get a pension from the government but they will only pay you when you are 65. I am sorry we can not help you more, but you did not tell us enough in your letter. You can get more help from the Industrial Aid Bureau, 312 Trevor Building, Voortrekker St, Vereeniging, 1930 or telephone (016) 21-2541. They are open from 8.30 in the morning until 4.30, Mondays to Fridays.


Dear Learn and Teach, I like reading Learn and Teach very much. And I hope you will help me with my problem. I am a worker at a factory which makes boards from wood. We are suffering because of low wages. We get R75 if we work seven days a week. We get R50 for working Monday to Friday. We tried to organise ourselves, but we failed. We want to join a trade union. Please send us 70 joining forms. Mandlenkosi Ntsele THOKOZA

Thank you for your letter. We think you must talk to the Paper, Wood and Allied Workers Union. The address is: 5th floor, Cosatu House, 268 Jeppe Street, (corner End Street) Johannesburg, 2001. Tel:(011) 402-7514. Good luck.

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