A Vaal Triangle mother has sought to warn parents of bogus job opportunities for young people fresh out of high school – especially if the job sounds too good to be true.
“Over the past few days, we have been through hell, and believe ‘employers’ had ill intentions with our child,” Nicola* told Vaal Weekblad.
This was after her son received a job opportunity as a farmhand in Bloemfontein.
Nicola said she placed an advertisement on behalf of her two sons on a job group. After a few weeks, a farmer who said he farmed cattle in the Bloemfontein area was desperately looking for two young men.
“The man emailed me documents which looked official. These consisted of work contracts and a list of benefits. My eldest son sent his CV through. Everything was accepted, and he got the ‘job’.
“The farmer even offered to pay for his bus ticket. We were elated, because our son had struggled to find work,” Nicola said.
She said for the first few days, they heard nothing from their son. When he finally called, she was shocked to find out that all the promises made by the “farmer” were false.
Her son told her the man was not a cattle and sheep farmer, and that there were only chickens and geese where he was. The farm was also not anywhere near Bloemfontein, but a few kilometres from Maseru, Lesotho.
“Our son was thrown into an outside room and was tasked with chopping wood. There was no electricity or water on the farm. They took his cellphone and all the food we bought specially for him, and gave him nothing to eat or drink.”
Thankfully, the young man managed to escape, and with the help of a neighbouring farmer, he was rescued.
“At this point, it had been days since he last ate.”
Nicola said he survived by drinking concentrated juice, just to get some fluids into his system.
The neighbouring farmer took him back to Bloemfontein, where he was reunited with his family.
“As a family, we want to make other parents aware of how false people can be. We were driven mad by worry for our son.
“We believe they had very sinister plans for our child,” Nicola said.
*Not her real name
Edited and translated from Afrikaans by Nica Richards.