Dear Learn and Teach, Please tell me how to help my comrades who are being badly treated by their bosses. One of my comrades worked on a farm for five years. One day he was bitten by his employer’s dog. He slept in hospital for one month. He paid all his hospital bills himself. And he was not paid for the time he was sick. Then he was fired because he could no longer work hard. Another comrade also works for the same employer. He has worked there for 39 years and gets R65 a month. When he resigns his employer goes to fetch him with dogs and beats him up until he decides to go back to work. These comrades are not members of any trade union and they do not know where to go for help. Please help me to help them. Comrade GROOTHOEK
Thank you for your letter. Your friends are being treated very badly by this employer. They can report this employer to the police for assault. We think the best thing to do is to speak to advice office workers in your area. There are two offices quite close to you: Northern Transvaal Advice Office 18 Devenish Street P.O.Box 2808 Pietersburg 0700 Tel: (01521)71538 Open: Mon-Fri 9.00am to 4.30pm Saturday 9.00am to 1.00pm. or: Sekhukhuneland Advice Office Evangelical Lutheran Church P.O.Box 50 Ditshweung Jane Furse Hospital 1085 Tel: 0020 ask for Jane Furse No 8 Open: Mon-Fri 8.00am to 4.00pm.
Dear Learn and Teach Please help me as you have helped other readers. My mother is mentally retarded. She lost her identity documents in 1975. She applied for another identity document in 1980 but she lost that one too. She applied again in 1987, but she has not received it yet. Our problem is that we need to get money from my father’s estate. My mother cannot get the money because she has no identity document. She cannot even get her old age pension. Please help us. Elizabeth SOWETO
Thank you for your letter. The best thing to do is go to the Black Sash Advice Office. They can help you with these family problems. Please take any papers or documents about your mother’s sickness and your father’s death with you. The address is: Black Sash Advice Office Nicro Building Old Potchefstroom Rd cor Roodepoort Rd Mofolo South Soweto T el: (011)984-8307 Open: Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm.
Dear Learn and Teach, I am a guy of 22 years doing standard 8. I learn a lot from your magazine. I need to know about sex education and methods of protection. I wish to finish my studies without having problems of unplanned pregnancy. Please send me any books about sex education. Responsible DAVEYTON
Thank you for your letter. It’s a very good idea to get more information about sex, birth control and family planning while you are still at school. Having kids when you are not ready for them can really mess up your life. You can get free booklets about these subjects from: The Family Planning Association 3rd floor Marlborough House Johannesburg 2001 Tel: (011)331-2695 This office also sells condoms and other methods of birth control at very low prices. Anyone can go there for free advice. Or ask them where your nearest Family Planning Clinic is.
Dear Learn and Teach, Greetings to all your readers. I am a sixteen year old boy in standard 8 and my younger sister is in standard 3. My father earns R85 per month. My problem is that my father refuses to give us school fees. He says he does not have money. He told me to leave school and join the battalion. Our school principal does not want to help. He says he has to look after his own family. I have now decided to steal from my relatives. I have been stealing bath soap and powdered soap as we have no money. Please help me. Sdlile GIYANI
Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to hear of your sad problems. It must be tough for your father to keep your family going on only R85 per month. Maybe you could help him — and yourself — by getting a job (not one in the army, we hope!). Then you could study at night school too. Most towns have an adult education centre which runs free night classes for Std 8 to Std 10. It’s not a good idea to steal — especially from your relatives, or you’ll really end up in hot water! You could earn a little bit of money by selling Learn and Teach magazine at your place. If you want to do this, please write back to us and we’ll send you some magazines to sell.
Dear Learn and Teach, Please help me to find a house. At the moment, I am a lodger. I have five kids so I had to send them to boarding school because we can’t get a house. Now they are crying about that. Please show me the right way to live with my kids like other people. Father of Five SPRINGS
Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to hear how you cannot have your kids with you. We spoke to the Urban Foundation about your housing problem. The Urban Foundation will be starting a new self-help housing scheme in the Moleleki area of Springs early next year. If you go to the Urban Foundation offices in January next year, they will have more details about the scheme. Then you can ask them how to join the scheme. Their address is: Urban Foundation 4th floor United Building Fox Street (corner Eloff) Johannesburg 2001 Tel: (011) 492-2020
Dear Learn and Teach, I am 28 years old. I am an office cleaner. I have worked here for 7 years. My pay is R540 a month. After tax and pension, I take home R425 a month. I want to give notice in January next year. I will work one month’s notice. Please tell me what benefits I can claim when I leave the job. My second question is about an advert I saw in a Xhosa newspaper. This advert showed that I can get a much better job. This job will send me overseas to work in the oil industry. I do not mind how hard this job will be, because I will get a very good salary. I answered this advert to ask for more information about this job. The company which answered my letter is called G. J. International, and they said I must send R45 for more information. Now I am asking you to find out if this company really has jobs. These days we must be careful and ask other people before we pay money. Job Hunter EASTERN CAPE
Thank you for your letter. Firstly, we would like to warn you against G. J. International. This company does not help you to get a job overseas. When you pay them R45, they just send you a book with names and addresses of overseas companies. Then you must apply for a job with these companies. It is almost impossible for a black South African with no educational or professional qualifications — such as an engineer or a scientist — to be accepted for jobs with such companies, or even to get travel papers to work overseas. We know of many people who have paid R45 to G. J. International. They never get even one reply to all the job applications they send to companies listed in the book. We hope that you were not going to leave your job as a cleaner because of this advert. If you still want to leave your job, the best way of finding out what you can claim will be to ask the personnel or wages clerk after you hand in your resignation. But please think carefully before you give up your job — you could end up with no job at all.
Dear Learn and Teach, Please help me solve this problem with the Ciskei Post Office. For two months this year, I received calls from my friend in America. He used three different telephones in Mdantsane and Umtata. The operator did not tell me I must pay for the calls. She just said “collect the call from America”. Now I have to pay R20 000, and I am a student. Two of the telephones have already been cut off because I can’t pay the bills. Please help me to make the Post Office charge the calls to the person in America. N.B. MDANTSANE
Thank you for your letter. Your problem must be a king-size headache! Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to make the Post Office charge your friend in America for the collect calls. You accepted these collect calls — “collect” is just another word for “reverse charge”. Your friend must have known that he was asking for you to pay with a “collect” call. The only thing we can suggest is that you ask your friend to help you pay the bills. You said the total amount is R20 000. This seems very high, even for two months of calls from America. You could ask the Post Office to give you accounts for the three telephones. These will show exactly how many minutes each collect call lasted. Then you can see if these amounts are correct. You will have to make arrangements with the Post Office to pay off your debt to them. We hope your friend will help you.
Dear Learn and Teach, In April I applied for a loan of R2 000 from Rapid Tilers and Service Consultants in Johannesburg. They said I must pay an advance interest of R300.1 waited for six weeks to get my loan. They asked me where to send my cheque for R2 000. But I am still waiting — almost eight months later. Please help me to get my R300 back from these people. Tumo Molaodi PUDIMOE
Thank you for your letter, Tumo. We were sorry to hear of your problems with Rapid Tilers and Service Consultants. Maybe by now you have received a letter from this company telling you they can’t refund your R300 until next February. We have had heard that many people have lost money to this company. We do not believe they had any loans to give in the first place — they just wanted to take deposits from people and use the money for themselves. We have tried to speak to the owner, but he refuses to speak to us. We think that you should report this company to the police for stealing your money. In future, never pay deposits for loans because many loan companies are dishonest and steal people’s money. We hope you get your money back.
Dear Learn and Teach, I need your help very, very much. I was retrenched in 1984 — 1 have been out of a job for more than three years. I am a married man, with children. I am totally embarrassed because I have no job. Can Learn and Teach help me to find a job? Any job will be OK. R. N. DAVEYTON
Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to hear you have been struggling to find a job. We get so many letters from people all over the country who can’t find jobs. We think the best thing to do is to speak to the Unemployed Worker’s Co-ordinating Committee. They are trying to organise many things for unemployed people. But don’t give up hope. Keep on trying for jobs. Sometimes it needs just that little extra effort to win. Good luck! The address is: UWCC 8 Park Chambers Building corner Wanders and Plein Streets Johannesburg or P.O. Box 260143 Excom 2023
Dear Learn and Teach, My problem is unfair dismissal. In February I was fired without any reason. I reported the matter to my trade union. In March I was called to court. But the manager did not come to court. The union told me to wait for another court case. But I am still waiting. My other problem is that I have never claimed UIF. I have the blue card from the job I left in 1986. And I have the blue card from the job where I was dismissed. Can I claim money from these blue cards? B.M. Mphahlele MPHAHLELE
Thank you for your letter, Mr Mphahlele. We were sorry to hear of these problems you have had. It is too late to claim any UIF money from the job you left in 1986. But if you claim now, you will still get UIF benefits from your last job. The UIF rules say you must claim within nine months of leaving your job. You must take your blue card to the local labour office, or magistrate’s offices, to make a claim. Ask your union what is happening about your court case. Write to the union’s head office, or telephone them to find out about your case.
Dear Learn and Teach, I greet all readers in the name of the Freedom Charter. Thank you for your story about the son of Africa, Archbishop Tutu. I think the people who try to threaten him and write false statements about him are sad and ashamed because we have seen the truth about the beliefs of the Archbishop. I know now why he chose sanctions to destroy apartheid. Let this man work for his people because our true leaders are behind bars. Let all of us support Tutu and work hand in hand with him. Learn and Teach please publish more stories about people whom the Pretoria regime is trying to keep their messages from us. Long live the true teacher. William RUSTENBURG
Thank you for your lovely letter William.