Some relief for relatives of Mpumalanga crash victims: MEC proposes that employer offers them jobs

Mpumalanga Community Safety MEC Pat Ngomane has made a proposal that will hopefully bring some relief to relatives of those who died in a horrific accident last week.

Ngomane has suggested that Franki Africa — the company that employed the deceased workers — agrees to train at least one person per bereaved family‚ with the possibility of employing them.

It is understood that Ngomane made the proposal last Tuesday during a “consultative meeting” with families of the deceased.

Ngomane is understood to have explained that training and employing one member from each bereaved family would go a long way to compensating families for the financial loss of losing working relatives — some of whom were breadwinners.

And the idea appears to have been received favourably.

Franki Africa managing director Errol Braithwaite described Ngomane’s proposal as an “excellent one“.

Although he was non-committal‚ Braithwaite indicated that the idea would be considered since members of the same family were employed by the company.

This appears to be a dramatic turnaround after the company is said to have told Ngomane that it could not agree to his proposal without the buy-in of its parent company‚ which is apparently based in the United Kingdom and Germany.

The company is also understood to have put forward the current economic recession as a reason why it would not be able to accede to Ngomane’s request.

Braitwaite said his company would give support to the families of the deceased workers‚ including benefits their loved ones had accumulated.

“The proposal by the MEC is an excellent one‚ which we welcome. We are a very close company with many of our employees having been with us for many‚ many years. In many cases‚ several members of the same family work for us.

“Franki Africa is assisting the families‚ many of whom are from far away‚ with transport and official arrangements as well as facilitating benefit payments to the bereaved‚” said Braithwaite.

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) health and safety secretary Eric Gcilitshana called on Franki Africa and Nkomati Mine to “make sure that a fund to look after children and beneficiaries of the deceased is set up” after the 18 employees died last Tuesday in the crash on Badplaas Road‚ about 3 kilometers outside Machadadorp.

Some families are naturally supportive of Ngomane’s proposal.

John Thela (50)‚ whose younger brother Leonard (41) died in the crash‚ said: “As a family‚ we thought about it and decided the proposal is the right one because our brother was the breadwinner at home. The family decided that I should step in.”

Thela said Leonard left behind two girls and a boy aged between 5 and 11 years old.