File picture: Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE - Teba, a recruitment agency for semi-skilled mineworkers, has flagged that jobs in the mining industry could be bought for up to R5 000.

The agency said the jobs-for-sale phenomenon increased amid rising unemployment and heightened poverty, the organisation which has been involved in recruitment for more than 100 years said.

Teba Head of New Commercial, Thabo Gumbi, said desperate job seekers had fallen prey to these scams.

“It is a big thing, because people are desperate for jobs,” he said. “The perpetrators operate in mining communities and purport to have links with mining companies or with Teba.”

Gumbi said in some other instances prospective employees forwarded job applications and CVs to Teba with R100 notes attached hoping to get jobs quicker.

“They even impersonate other people and have actually been caught hanging around our own premises. They make big promises of guaranteed jobs and deliver sinister threats of ‘no fee, no job’ with demands of anything from R20 up to R5 000 in instances.”

He said the organisation had established a hotline operated by Deloitte, on which the sale of jobs could be reported. He encouraged victims to tip authorities off by using free telephone and cell calls, including an international number, free fax facility, free post via letter or postcard, and e-mails. Gumbi said people were often afraid of being victimised, so it was vital that the tip-off process remained anonymous, easy, and accessible.

Another challenge was insufficient evidence, said Gumbi. “That’s why we’re investing heavily in education drives, particularly in communities surrounding the mines”.

Gumbi said each mine had its own campaign to stem out job selling and he was not aware of a co-ordinated approach in the industry. Gumbi said there were no statistics and victims feared to come forward with information.

A Chamber of Mines spokesperson said the chamber had heard rumours of job selling, but had no specific concrete information on the issue. “We are aware that where companies learn about any such activities involving their own employees, they treat it as a disciplinary matter.” Erick Gcilitshana, the National Union of Mineworkers health and safety secretary said job selling was difficult to trace.

“There are rumours, but we do not have facts. Those who bought the jobs often whisper in dark corners. They do not want to come up front and do not want to talk about it,” Gcilitshana said.

Sibanye-Stillwater said the company had not found any employees buying or selling jobs, but were aware of fraudsters who pretend they work for Sibanye-Stillwater often advertising jobs at shopping malls.

“We have an active communication campaign trying to inform the public that anyone who asks for money as part of a job application is not representing the company and it is fraud,” Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted said.