MP KGATHI ACCUSED OF INHUMANE TREATMENT OF WORKERS
If MP Shaw Kgathi believes in the Vision 2016 principals of a ‘just and caring nation,’ it wasn’t evident in the cruel and inhumane treatment he meted out to a group of prospective employees.
Two men from Bobonong have told of how they were shocked at the bizarre behaviour of the man who this week was removed as the Minister of Sport, Youth and Culture.
In an interview the traumatised men, Oteng Gabanamolelo, 26, and Basimane Maphakela, 29, told how what started as a job offer at Kgathi’s farm in Xamasane turned into a life threatening experience for them and four other men.
With a puzzled look on his face Gabanamolelo starts his story by saying: “That was the strangest behaviour we have seen from anyone, let alone someone who is supposed to be a Minister.”
Gabanamolelo claims that Kgathi was recruited with the other men from Bobonong and offered a bush-clearing job at the MP’s farm, 135 kilometres from Mahalapye.
Hungry and thirsty at the farm he offered them food from his tuck shop at P85 per plate, and told the men that buying food from the shop was part of the terms of service.
Employment negotiations however collapsed when the men turned down the food offer.
They argued that it wouldn’t make sense to pay for their own food, let alone at that cost as if it was a meal from a hotel, since they would be working just to buy food.
“When we asked him to give us a ride to a place where we could at least catch a bus back home, he became militant and summoned a team of four strong men to his kraal.
“The men could have passed for bouncers or body guards.”
Gabanamolelo went on to explain how Kgathi and the ‘bodyguards’ then held a discussion in hushed tones a distance away from the group.
“When they came back from their meeting Kgathi fetched a rifle from his car and started cleaning it whilst staring at us as if to intimidate us.”
This went on for some time until the agitated MP allegedly ordered the six men to leave immediately.
“We begged him to at least drop us at Mahalapye, but instead he drove deep in the bush and ordered us out of his car in torrential rain. We had to walk about 52 kilometres on a pitch black night and in the rain to reach the nearest village,”
Taking up the story his colleague, Maphakela related: “It was a matter of life and death.
We walked in pairs as we feared for our lives because the area is infested with dangerous wild animals.
And up to now we wonder what the minister’s intentions were.
Maybe he wanted us to be killed by wild animals or maybe he had other motives.
We probably will never know. “There was nothing we could do since we feared those hefty men he was with.
They looked dangerous. It was like they were ready to kill us should we do anything to anger them.”
However, none of the six men have pressed charges against Kgathi to the police or village elders because they were convinced with his status it would be a waste of time.
“What is strange though is that the man keeps phoning some of us although we have told him to stop harassing us.
We consider ourselves lucky to have survived that ordeal at the hands of the minister,” Maphakela said.
Reached for comment Kgathi said: “I am giving you the green light to write whatever you want to write about me. That is my comment.”