Letters from readers 1988 No 2


Dear Learn and Teach, I love your magazine so much. I hope you will help me with my problem. I am the mother of two children. The trouble is that their father does not support the children. He does not buy things for them. Even at Christmas time, he does not buy anything. The other problem is that their father does not visit these children. But when I say I will leave him, he cries. He wants me settled down with his children, but he does not support us. What can I do? Worried Mother Residensia

Thank you for your letter. We were sorry to hear about your problem. You cannot force this man to visit you and his children if he does not want to. But you can force him to support the children. The law says that a father must support his children, even if he is not married to their mother. This money for supporting the children is called maintenance.’ You can report him to the Maintenance Officer at the nearest magistrate’s court. The Maintenance Officer will call this man to the office to tell him to pay you. He must pay every month. If he does not pay, he can be arrested.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a 17 year old guy, doing Std 8. I am a new reader of Learn and Teach. Your magazine is very interesting and it has taught me a lot. I like your English lessons. I will write soon and tell you my story. David Kagiso

Thank you for your letter, David. It is always nice to know that new readers enjoy the magazine. We also think the English Lesson is much better these days – thanks to the new people who are now writing it. We look forward to reading your story!


Dear Learn and Teach, I am a boy of 16 living in Tembisa. I read about the problems of South Africa in Learn and Teach. I read about apartheid in our country. I think that apartheid can be ended if all the people join hands together. My problem is with people in Tembisa. If you are a Sotho, other people do not want to listen to you. The Tsongas, Tswanas, Zulus and other people do not want to join together. Learn and Teach, can you tell us how to talk to each other and join together? Sello Tembisa

Thank you for your letter, Sello. You are right, apartheid divides the people. The government built townships like Tembisa with different sections for people who speak different languages and who belong to different “tribes”. We think you are right to say that apartheid will only end when people join together. Talking to each other and working together in organisations will help to build unity. But maybe we should start with ourselves, Sello. Stop thinking of people as Tsongas, Tswanas and Zulus. We are all one nation!


Dear Learn and Teach, The people of Ginsberg have asked me to write to you. We need help to improve things for our future. We want to start an advice office, a feeding scheme, a garden project and a library. We also need information about bursaries and multi-racial schools. Xolani Ginsberg

Thank you for your letter, Xolani. We think you should get in touch with the following organisations for help with your projects: Border Council of Churches, P 0 Box 966, King Williams Town 5600. Tel (0433) 23165 Operation Hunger, P O Box 18542, Wynberg 7800. Tel (021) 77-1481 or 77-2480. Write to: Roselle Frasca For a list of bursary schemes and schools you can write to the Education Information Centre, 601 Dunwell, 35 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein, 2001 or telephone (011) 339-2476.


Dear Learn and Teach, Thank you for helping readers solve their problems. . The first problem is that my mother got nothing after my father’s death. My father died 21 years ago. My mother got no pension, back pay, or wages – nothing. She did not know where to go to claim anything. The second problem is how to claim for my brother’s death. He was shot by the police four years ago. I think they made a mistake because they thought he was someone else. We went to the police station and made a statement. But since then, nothing has happened. Can I do anything about these two cases, or is it too late? King Katlehong

Thank you for your letter. We are sorry to say that it is too late to take up these cases. If you want to be very sure that there is no pension from your father’s job, you can go to his old firm and ask. Take all his old papers and documents, if you have any. You did not give us enough information about your brother’s death for us to find out what happened about the case. But if you did not take action against the police within six months of the shooting, it is too late. You can go back to the police station where you made the statement and ask what happened about the case. If you need help to do this, you can go to the advice office in your area. The address is: Katlehong Advice Centre, St Peter’s Chains Anglican Church, Administration Block, Katlehong 1832 Tel (011) 909-3257 or Katlehong Legal Services Centre, 2059 Nhlapo Section, Katlehong 1832 Tel (011) 909-2013


Dear Learn and Teach, I was dismissed during the mineworkers strike in August 1987. I worked at Vaal Reefs Gold Mine. Please tell me if the case about getting our jobs back is finished. If we cannot get our jobs back, I want to claim my UIF before nine months is up. Please give me the address of Vaal Reefs so I can get my blue card. Mazwi Motsa Swaziland

Thank you for your letter, Mazwi. The case about getting miners jobs back was heard in Johannesburg in March. Anglo American agreed to give jobs back to 9000 of the 18000 workers who were fired in the strike. Anglo also agreed to pay compensation to the miners who will not get their jobs back. We think you should contact the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The new address of the NUM head office is: National Acceptances House, corner Anderson & Rissik Streets, Johannesburg, 2001. Tel: (011) 833 7013 The address for Vaal Reefs is P O Box 5010, Vaal Reefs, 2621.


Dear Learn and Teach, We need your help to get better wages and to know our rights. We are workers who make clay bricks. We start at seven in the morning and knock off at half past six at night. We get only R42 a week. If it rains, we know we will not get paid for that day. If we do not work on public holidays, we get no pay. When I tried to tell the bosses that they treat us badly and cheat us, they laughed as if I was telling them a joke. We want to know if it is the law for our bosses to treat us this way? No future Kroonstad

Thank you for your letter. You can get all the information you need about wages and conditions in the brick-making industry from the Department of Manpower. The office nearest to you is at Fairweather Heights, Brand Street, Kroonstad, tel (01411) 24471. Please speak to the inspector, Mr Botha. Your boss is not allowed to take off money for public holidays and you should not work more than 46 hours a week.


Dear Learn and Teach, I worked in Klerksdorp for ten years. I was retrenched in September last year. Now I can’t get my UIF or pension money. My family is suffering and our furniture has been repossessed because I cannot pay. I have been to the Department of Manpower in Carletonville three times. I told them I was born in Carletonville and live here with my family. But they said I must go to Potchefstroom Manpower to claim my UIF. I paid R25 to travel to Potchefstroom and back, but the Manpower office there said they can’t help me. I wrote to Manpower in Pretoria, but they did not answer. I am a man with a family of five. What must I do – kill my family or steal from someone so that they can live? Kleinbooi Velaphi Khutsong

Thank you for your letter, Mr Velaphi. We spoke to Mr C Moller at the Department of Manpower in Carletonville about your UIF. Moller is in charge of UIF in Carletonville. He said there is no reason you cannot claim your UIF there if you live there. It does not matter where you worked. Mr Moller says you must go to the Manpower offices in Osmium Street, next to the traffic department, to see him. He will help you to sort out this problem.


Dear Learn and Teach, I am registered with New Jersey Correspondence College to do a course in 1987. I sent my fees by post, but never received the lectures. Now they do not answer me when I write to them. Please tell me if this school has a new address. MB KwaMashu

Thank you for your letter. We checked with the Correspondence College Council of South Africa. All correspondence schools and colleges, or anyone selling correspondence courses, must be registered with the council. The council says the New Jersey College is not registered with them. This means that it cannot do business in South Africa. Anyone who wants to check if a correspondence course is registered, can write to P 0 Box 84583, Greenside, 2034 or telephone (011) 646-2155. It is wise to check before paying any fees.


Dear Learn and Teach, I live in a village in Sekhukhuneland. I am a farm worker. Last month I was beaten up by three farmers. Some soldiers were with them when they came to my room to beat me up. I ran away from the farm. Then two weeks later, they came to my brother’s house and beat him up. I want to open a case. What must I do? Joe Steelpoort

Thank you for your letter, Joe. You must lay a charge against these people at the police station. There is an advice office near you, and it might help if you speak to one of the advice office workers before making your statement to the police. The address is: Sekhukhuneland Advice Office, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Ditshweung P.O Box 50, Jane Furse Hospital 10855. Tel 0020 ask for Jane Furse No 8


Dear Learn and Teach, Firstly, I ask the Almighty to let the spirit from heaven fall upon all at Learn and Teach Publications and to give you the power to continue. To those who have the power to destroy magazines and newspapers, I say:” Open the bible at Isaiah 58 and read verses 6-7. This chapter shows that even God dislikes those who oppress their brothers. My beloved Learn and Teach writers, I am going to sell your magazine with all my heart. I believe that my brothers and sisters will buy it because here at Secunda there is no place to buy it. I don’t know how much I must send you, so I am waiting to hear from you. Phineas Secunda

Thank you for your prayers, Phineas. If you want to sell the magazine, this is how it works. We will send you 25 magazines for a start. You then sell the magazines at (the new price of) 75 cents each. You keep keep 25 cents for every magazine you sell. If you get your magazines by post, you must pay half of the postage costs. That costs you R2. So if you sell 25 magazines you will have R18.75 in your pocket. From your commission of R6.25 you must take off R2 for postage. You are then left with R4.25 commission. You then send us R14.50 and tell us how many magazines you want to sell in future. We wish you luck and thank you for helping the magazine to reach the people in Secunda.

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