Times editor works for 30 years, dies without getting a cent


MBABANE: Times of Swaziland Sub-editor Tani Louis Gama who worked for the newspaper for over 30 years with great disctiction has died without getting any compesation from her employer Paul Loffler.

The Times of Swaziland is a leading newspaper in the Kingdom of eSwatini with an estimated annual turnover of over R500 million but most employees who push the production died poor leaving nothing behind to sustain their children or families. This is not the first employee who died without being paid long serving benefits by the Times others being the late powerful editor Vusi Ginindza, journalist Sonnyboy Fakudze and Phiwokwakhe Ngidi to mention but a few. Speaking during an interview with this Swaziland News publication, Zodwa Gama, the deceased elder sister said as a family they were deeply saddened with the death of her sister who was forced to report for duty while sick.

“As a family we are deeply hurt by the death of my sister who died early this year in January. Actually she was sick around December and November. However her condition deteriorated as she was forced by her company supervisor to continue working while sick on many occasions. Seeing that this would have repercussions, we then decided to recall her as she was too sick” she said. Zodwa said upon death, her sister received only R500,00 funeral contribution not from the employer but concerned Times of Swaziland employees who were assisting with other funeral costs. She said what assisted them the most was the Dups Funeral Policy to which her sister was a member.

“Tani had joined Dups funeral policy. That is why we managed to bury her. We only received offering from her colleagues of around R500.00 which was stashed inside an envelope. This money was allegedly an offering from heartbroken Times colleagues not the employer. During Tani’s funeral her Times of Swaziland supervisors were present, they only lamented that they had lost a loyal and dedicated team member, they never talked about her benefits. We never questioned them about money on the day as we thought the company was legitimate and would prepare her package” she said. Reached for comments, Times of Swaziland boss Paul Loffler asked that a questionaire be prepared for him so he can respond but after it was sent , he never responded. A labour Consultant who has been dealing with such issues said Times employees should know that they will get nothing after retirement as the newspaper has a history of exploiting employees. Zodwa Gama said her sister died while trying to go back to work saying “Ngifuna kuhamba sengibonile kutsi leliphepha liphume kahle”(meaning I want to make sure the paper is propertly layout out before I go” She said her sister was seemily stressed by her work and sometimes she would lose her mind and speech.

“My sister was also stressed by her work. This was noticed in her speeches as she would also lost her mind and would sometimes say I want to finish with laying out the newspaper” she said The deceased sister said she still hopes the Times of Swaziland would do the right thing and compesate her relative. “I still hope the Times, a popular newspaper will follow Swazi labour laws and pay my sister. Her daughter is now an orphan as both parents died she is supposed to be in a University but there are no funds” she said A document in our possession which has been compiled by The Media Institute of Southern Africa, MISA, Swaziland chapter, reveals that The Times frowns on unions that seeks to promote the welfare of journalists. Our investigations reveal that despite the deceased journalists, the Times allegedly exploited scribes like Nirmrod Mabuza who now works for the Nation Magazine as Assistant Editor and Lunga Masuku, who works for MISA. Masuku, the once powerful investigative journalist was also neglected by the employer after he fell sick. He was allegdly replaced while in his hospital bed and upon recovery he went home with nothing despite his contribution to the newspaper for years.

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