Monday, 27 July 2009

Why are the poorest exploited the most: Part 1

Being a proud (South) African myself, I have always asked myself why it’s always the poor, I have observed, that are the most exploited.

This exploitation, it can be observed, not only is it a rich on poor, e.g. Europeans, Chinese and Americans on Africans. It is, however, even more worrying and sad – not to admit that it is acceptable – when it’s among and between the poor themselves, e.g. South Africans on Nigerians/Zimbabweans.

While at university, my lecturer told me and I continue to tell my colleagues and subordinates of my expectations of them not to love me at all – I’d be lucky if any of them did and that it’s okay to feel loved of course. This is because of the industry in which I’m working in, mining.

In the mining industry, the poor people with no income, are forced by their circumstances into paying or asked to pay a certain amount of money (bribes) before being hired by those with the authority to do so, many of whom are called mabalane in the industry’s language, Fanakalo. All this, I have observed while others being told of.

Without knowing when I would come face-to-face with victims of these crimes, I prefer to call them; I had the opportunity to talking to such a victim recently, two weeks ago, at the time of writing.

Exploitation No. 1
According to Jack[i] he was asked to pay the amount equal to R900.00, if telling the truth because others due to desperation and their circumstances lie instead.

Jacob[ii], according to Jack, asked for R1000.00 before he could offer him a job. Because Jack himself was unemployed and desperate, he tried raising the amount requested; however, he only managed to raise R900.00 which Jacob accepted.

As per agreement, it could be gathered, Jacob sent Jack for medical examination to which Jack had to pass as a requirement for everyone wanting to working in the industry, especially underground.

It was after Jack met the job’s medical examination that Jacob informed him of his manager’s decision to no longer engage any person. This, as a result, led to Jacob finding an alternative work for Jack elsewhere around.

Unfortunately, Jacob’s plan of finding another work elsewhere for Jack borne not fruits at all as everything blew on his face. Bear in mind and as Jack has informed me, Jacob still had his R900.00 and probably used and he was still without a job at the time of writing.

Feeling bad for Jack as I did, I tried to get hold of Jacob who denied all the allegations that I even informed him that failing to tell me the truth will result in him losing his job as I would confront his manager with the allegation to which an investigation would be conducted and penalty or a recommendation be made, and probably worse, losing his family too. This, I told him, he should not take as a threat, but as a warning, because if truth be told and if Jack’s telling it, how dare he ask an unemployed job seeker to pay bribe when he actually has no other means of raising the amount requested.

Sadly, I thought to myself, it’s probably not exposed because it is a private company and not a government department. This was because, especially business owners and individuals, believe corruption or bribery of any kind or corruption only takes place in or between government departments because that’s where one is likely to find politicians and everything to do with politics. Unfortunately, here is was not the case, or was it?

[i] Not a real name, identity withheld (job seeker).
[ii] Not his real name, identity withheld (Mabalane).

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