Letters from our readers 1989 No 4


Dear brothers and sisters at Learn and Teach, I greet you in the name of God. We are happy to see your magazine on Namibian soil, our motherland. We know that you do not like apartheid. We look forward to the day that we will be free under President Sam Nujoma. F. Truteus LUDERITZ

Thank you for your letter. Like you, we are also looking forward to a free Namibia. We hope you enjoy all the stories in this magazine about your country.


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to thank you for your magazine. It is very cheap but what it contains is not cheap. Keep it up. I was sad to read about the families of people who have been behind bars for many years. Truly their names live in our memories. Indeed I will never forget the price they have paid. What a shame that wives, lovers and children lose their breadwinners for so long in the prisons of apartheid. For a child to grow up like Koikoi Motsoaledi is heartbreaking. W. Mahlaule SOSHANGUVE


Dear Learn and Teach, You wrote a story about “South Africa’s Death Factory.” I found this story very interesting and upsetting. I think the death penalty must be abolished because it is against humanity, like apartheid. The government must find another way to punish people which all races agree with. I think that courts in South Africa judge by the skin. Apartheid is causing anger and frustration amongst the victims, us blacks. J. P. CAPETOWN


Dear Learn and Teach, Please publish my poem in your magazine on Moss Mayekiso. Forty-three years ago, I lived in the same yard as he does now. Like him, I also led a tenants movement. I was also a trade unionist. In Seventh Avenue Is a man tall as a tree Suffered for improvement of a community In footsteps of a man lived in Seventh Avenue Forty three years ago Challenged the deteriorating conditions In jail and out Echoed thousands of souls “Amandla” Modikwe Dikobe SETTLERS


Dear Learn and Teach, I have a problem where I work. I am a shopsteward. I was elected by my fellow workers. But now they have no unity with the shopstewards council. When we call them to meetings, they make excuses. But then they say that the union is weak. We often try to explain that the union is built with workers’ power. They say that they are working for their families and we must not come to them with our stories. But we are only earning R306.75 a month which is not enough for a worker with a family. When we ask them what will happen if one of the shopstewards gets detained, we get no answer. We ask you to publish this letter so that your readers can see it and give us advice. S.E.D. WARMBATHS

Thank you for your letter. If any of our readers have some advice about how to get the workers more interested and active in the union, please write to us at Learn and Teach and we will pass the letter on.


Dear Learn and Teach, I want to complain about the Golden Express Bus Company. On the way to the Transkei, they stop at shops with unreasonable prices just because they get free meals. The white shopkeepers treat us like animals. They have special prices for travellers. For example, half a chicken marked R4,98 will be R6.56 at the cashier. If you ask why there is a price difference the ‘big klein baas’ will say, “Voetsek, kaffir”. I want to warn the Golden Express Bus Company that I will not use their buses unless things improve. I will rather use the Vaal Maseru buses. L. Sigcau IDUTYWA

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to a Mr Klopper at the Golden Express Bus Company. He was sorry to hear your complaint and he will complain to the owners of the shops. Please write to him giving him the names of the shops where you have been badly treated and charged unreasonable prices. The address is: Golden Express Bus Company, P.O .Box 1516, Randfontein, 1760


Dear Learn and Teach, I work as a security guard. At our work, we are always getting beatings from two white men. We put up with it because we want to work. Without work we suffer but now they are beating us too much. We are very badly treated at work. We start work at 10 o’clock and finish at 7 o’clock in the morning. There is no lunch time. They pay us R15 a day. What do you say about the way we security guards suffer? Please save us. Peter

Thank you for your letter, Peter. We are sorry that we cannot write back to you but you did not give us your address, so we are answering your letter here in the magazine. It sounds like these white men are breaking the law by beating you at work. Also, if you work more than 12 hours a day, you must get overtime pay. You may not work more than 12 hours overtime in a week. We think that you must go and talk to a union. There are two unions that organise security guards. Here are their addresses:— Transport and General Workers’ Union 3rd floor Queens Court Cnr Bree and Klein St Johannesburg Tel: (011) 29-4631 Vukani Guards and Allied Workers Union 2nd floor Lekton House 5 Wanderers St Johannesburg Tel: (011) 29-4971


Dear Learn and Teach, My mother has a problem. She has worked at Sales House for seven years but she is still not a permanent worker. She does the same work as permanent workers. I think that because she has been there for seven years, she must be made a permanent worker. I want to know if she will get any benefits if anything happens to her. T. Moloi HARRISMITH

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to Sales House about your mother’s problem. They say that most people at Sales House are casual because they do not want to pay for permanent workers when they are not busy. Casual workers do not pay into the pension fund. But they do pay UIF. So if your mother leaves Sales House all she will get is UIF. They say that your mother can speak to the manager of her shop and tell him that she wants a permanent job. Otherwise she can talk to the union. The union for this branch of Sales House is CCAWUSA. Your mother must talk to the Harrismith representative or she can write to the CCAWUSA head office: CCAWUSA, 7th floor, Park Chambers, 8 Wanderers St, Johannesburg, 2001 Tel:(011) 23-6800


Dear Learn and Teach, I want you to hear my complaint. On the 29th March we visited the Durban beach. When we were there, a white man wearing a red swimming costume came and told us that blacks are not allowed to swim there. When I asked him why, he just walked away. So we moved to another beach where all races were swimming together. I want to know what kind of whites need their own place to swim? I also want to say that when they announced on TV that all the beaches in Durban were multiracial, they were not telling the truth. L.L. Neo INANDA

Thank you for your letter. We spoke to the head of the Durban Parks Department. He said that he agrees with you — when the TV said that all beaches in Durban were open to everyone, it was not true. South Beach, Addington Beach and all the Bluff beaches are still reserved for “whites only”! But he hopes that one day all the beaches in Durban will be open. So do we!


Dear Learn and Teach, I was very happy to read your magazine. I want to thank COSATU and NACTU for what they have done. I want you to open an office in our village where we can buy this magazine. We also need to get advice. People are very bitter in our village. Old people are not getting their pensions. Sometimes they wait until they die. J. Choma STEELPOORT

Thank you for your letter. First, about getting the magazine. You can buy a year’s subscription to the magazine by sending an R8.00 postal order. Or you can become a seller and sell Learn and Teach to the people in Steelpoort. We will send you a letter telling you how to become a seller. Second, about your pension problems. We know that the government is taking a long time to pay out people’s pensions. In fact it is so bad that the Black Sash is taking the Department of Social Welfare and Pensions to court. We will try to help people with their pensions if you can send us the names, pension numbers and dates of birth of people who are waiting for their pensions.


Dear Learn and Teach, My home is Nthorwane location, near Greylingstad. My township is up on a hill with no electricity or roads that cars can drive on. There are only a few taps in the township and you find people waiting in long lines to get water. In 1986 we were told that a new township would be built. Since then only four new houses have been built but there are thousands of people in the township. We live in a shack which people call “Amavaga” — a wag plek. We have to pay R30 per month but people who arrived before us only pay R6 a month. I want to know why they divide us like that. I also want to know where they think we can get so much money when there is no work in Greylingstad. The councillors are undemocratic. Please help us as it is like my township is in a dark continent. Moses Tshabalala NTHORWANE

Thank you for your letter. You can speak to these two organisations as they work with people in rural areas: Transvaal Rural Action Committee (TRAC) Queensbridge Cnr Juta and Bertha St Braamfontein 2001 Tel: (011) 23-8405 65

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