Klerksdorp – A catastrophe and jobs bloodbath has been exacerbated by the advent of Covid19 in the city of Matlosana. The city which has relied heavily on the mining industry for years with weak civil society institutions experienced the unprecedented closure of mining companies and productive shafts since the demise of Stilfontein Gold Mine in the late ’80s to the recent sale and migration of AngloGold Ashanti.
This episode of the sale of Anglo slashed direct employment from 18 375 to 6 636 under the banner of new owners Harmony Gold. A host of other employees estimated around 7 000 who were on the books of several contractors also suffered the same fate. Manufacturing and engineering companies in and around Orkney and Klerksdorp were not spared the domino effect as most were forced to close down and right-size their staff establishment.
When miners get unemployed and/or retrenched 98% of them do not return back to labour sending areas, but hang around and look for other opportunities, whilst others with portable skills get assimilated and become permanent residents of the city. This begs the question of the responsibility of both mining houses and the regulator; namely, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on provisioning for the welfare of these former miners post their employment status.
The retrenched employees joined over 132 000 other discouraged jobseekers and chronically unemployed citizens of the city, thus putting more pressure on the under-resourced Matlosana that Mafikeng refuses to provide for in per capita terms.
Aga Matlosana collaborated with Black Sash to take up the cause of many job seekers and chronically unemployed residents who had applied for the Covid19 Social Relief Grant but were rejected for a variety of technical and engineered reasons. A number of applicants even beyond the boundaries of Matlosana have started receiving feedback and their appeals being escalated to the next level, whilst others have had their applications reviewed and will soon receive the R350 grants that they have applied.
The process is still ongoing and more work needs to be done seeing that the R350 SRG is way below the Breadline. The new social relief grants are inadequate to cover basic food, energy sources, and transport, as well as the additional cost of complying with hygiene protocols during the pandemic. The cost of the monthly basket of staple foods has increased by 6% to R3 413.14 for the period March to July 2020 for the average household, according to an ENCA June 2020 report.
Aga Matlosana has joined the campaign championed by Black Sash to compel the South African government to implement the permanent social assistance for those aged 18 to 59 valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1 227 per month. Caregivers, who receive the Child Support Grant, must qualify for this grant.
Now more than ever this is important, as we face deepening levels of unemployment where 2.2 million people joined ranks of the previously 12.2 million jobless South Africans and other effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Mzansi households already burdened with hunger. Aga Matlosana is mobilising all sectors of the community and the North West Province to become actively involved in petitioning Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, National Treasury, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, and President Ramaphosa to implement the novel Universal Basic Income Grant by the end of November 2020 to fill the gap that the discontinuation of Covid19 Social Relief
Grant is going to create.
We encourage everyone to go to this link https//awethu.amandla.mobi/…/basic-income-support-for-aged and sign the petition online. Those who request the forms should simply WhatsApp a BIG Form Request to our portal at 078-111-9132. Aga is busy negotiating with various organisations for support for rolling out food gardens and skills development programmes in various wards of Matlosana. These and other projects are aimed at empowering citizens, restore their dignity instead of creating a dependency syndrome, and a negative perception that comes with state grants, especially for the able-bodied persons.