Learn and Teach spoke to Theophilus Mbokazi. He comes from Mzimkhulu in the Transkei. He worked for the Johannesburg Municipality. But he was fired when the Municipal workers went on strike last year. This is his story.
“I was working at the Orlando Power Station in Soweto. We went on strike last year. We went on strike because we wanted more money. The police came to stop the strike. They took us to the City Deep Compound. They took us there in buses.”
“They locked us in the compound for the whole night. They sent buses to fetch us the next morning. They paid me seven rand and sent me back to the Transkei on the bus. There was nothing I could do. There were soldiers on the bus.”
“They did not let me fetch my things. All my things were at the Orlando Hostel. That is where I lived. I lost my blankets and sheets. I lost my suit. I also lost a lot of money. I lost 280 rand. The money was for my family. It took me five months to save all that money.”
NOTHING TO DO
“I stayed in the Transkei for six months. There was nothing for me to do there. One day I was listening to FM radio. I heard that workers must come to get their jobs back. So I bought a bus ticket for Johannesburg. The ticket cost 13 rand. But I did not care. I wanted my job back. I got to Johannesburg in December last year. I went to ask for my job. But there was no job for me. They only gave a few workers their jobs back. I have looked for a job since December. But I can’t find anything.”
“Now I am worried about my family. I have a wife and five children. I don’t know what is happening to them. I can’t write because there is nothing to say. I can’t write and say, “Sorry there is no money. Life is hard for me now. But I am not sorry I went on strike. I stood with the other workers. Many of them are also suffering now. I know I am not alone.”