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Bloemfontein - The five University of the Free State (UFS) workers who were humiliated in a racially inspired video launched their own cleaning company on Thursday.
Mothibedi Molete, Mankoe Phororo, Emmah Koko, Nkgapeng Adams and Sebuasengwe Ntlatseng launched Mamello Trading CC, with the help of UFS on the Bloemfontein campus.
Vice rector of external relations Dr Choice Makhetha said the company was already registered in 2012 but a lot of work had been done since then.
“Training took 12 months,” she told a group of guests, which included the families of the former workers.
The UFS had signed a four-year contract with Mamello Trading to clean the university's southern campus.
“A four-year mentorship programme continues,” said Makhetha.
She said the contract was signed for cleaning and gardening services on the south campus from June 1, 2014.
“Mamello is open for business, cleaning and garden services. The (business) contact details are there,” said Makhetha.
She said they would like other companies to support Mamello Trading, adding the new business owners had gone through all the training stages. “They have received start-up materials.”
The launch was also a farewell function for the former employees of the UFS.
However, when the five directors of Mamello Trading were asked their first business-related question on the worth of their four-year contract with the UFS, Makhetha said there was no need to put a value to the contract.
“With all due respect, the kind of work we are doing is far beyond monetary terms. Right from the beginning we have not been talking about figures. We are talking about the quality of work that has been done, restoring human dignity and no amount of money would replace that.”
The former Free State head of the Human Rights Commission Mothusi Lepheane also indicated there was no need to mention a contract figure.
“We do not want to quantify this kind of journey in monetary terms,” he said.
Lepheane, who is no longer with the commission, said the launch of Mamello Trading indicated a new chapter for those involved and efforts in developing the country.
He managed the human rights case of the five Mamello directors, while working for the commission about six years ago. Lepheane told guests that the Reitz video victims had kept contact with him since he left the commission.
The company consists of 10 workers and four supervisors.