OUR HUSBANDS’ MONEY IS GONE
The six cows that Lesiba left to his widow Daphney Manganyi and their two children are the only things standing between the family and starvation.
In December, unemployed and desperate, Manganyi sold one of the cows for R10 000 and used the money to buy her daughters Khensani (16) and Masuko (8) clothes for Christmas, as well as stationery and uniforms for school.
Manganyi (47) decided to sell one of the cows when asset manager Mvunonala Holdings’ subsidiary, Bophelo Benefit Services, which was entrusted with administering her husband’s pension, failed to pay her for the seventh month in a row.
Lesiba died in 2014 after “getting sick”, his widow said. He was employed by Amplats and “worked underground in one of their mines”, and was a member of the Amplats Group Provident Fund.
“I submitted all the necessary documents as soon as my husband died. They only paid me R1 500 for both kids in February, March and April last year. Then they did not pay. They paid again last month, but did not this month,” she said.
Manganyi, who lives in a village in Mokopane, Limpopo, about 50km from Polokwane, said Bophelo Benefit Services gave her numerous excuses, and asked her to resend bank statements and her bank account details.
“If they don’t pay, there is little we can do. It’s not like we can actually do something, you know; we are at their mercy,” she said. “My fridge is empty and we just survive by God’s grace.”
In Atok, outside Burgersfort, Limpopo, Patience Letlapa is worried that, as winter draws near, she still has not bought shoes and warm clothes for her eight-year-old son, Nkabakgoshi. Her problems are identical to Manganyi’s.
“My husband, Mafologela Maphanga, died in 2011, and Bophelo only paid me once. They only paid me R1 600 in January. I was not paid anything in February, March and April,” she said.
“They don’t pick up the phones; they just ignore us. Now I want to buy clothes for winter for my son, but I have no money. I also need money for transport and food for the boy. I am not employed.”
Letlapa (36) said she hoped that when Bophelo Benefit Services finally paid her, the payout would be backdated to the death of Maphanga, who also worked at one of Amplats’ mines. In the meantime, she depends on the goodwill of relatives and on a child grant from the state to sustain her and Nkabakgoshi.
Mirriam Maphanga, who is Letlapa’s next door neighbour, is even worse off than Letlapa and Manganyi.
The unemployed 42-year-old struggles every day to feed her children – Dikeledi (19), Lebo (15) and Maria (13) – and keep them clothed.
“I depend on their child grants, but you know that a grant doesn’t go far, let alone for three children.”
Her late husband, David Ndou, a former Amplats employee, died in 2010.
“I last got paid R800 on January 1. We haven’t been paid since then. They keep saying ‘next week’. I called last Friday, and they told me they would pay this past Wednesday. Wednesday has come and gone and I still wait,” she said.
Dikeledi came of age last year and filed all the necessary documentation to receive her lump sum from the fund, but she is still waiting.
“We submitted the forms more than three months ago and we are still waiting, and, frankly, I doubt we will ever get paid,” Maphanga said.
HOLIDAY HOME The house Bongani Mhlanga owns in Umhlanga, with its ocean view
LIVING IN LUXURY An image of the Meyersdal Eco Estate, where Mvunonala group chief executive Bongani Mhlanga owns a home. The picture is taken from the website of the estate, where properties are on the market for between R7 million and R25 million