‘When I’m done and cleaned up, we all look the same’ – trolley pusher

Petros Motsore from Jeppestown collects recyclable material from Norwood and surrounding areas to sell and make a living.

While the level of unemployment in South Africa continues to rise, the level of poverty also increases, with some people resorting to almost about anything to make a living.

Petros Motsore said that when he came to Joburg about 10 years ago, he thought life would be great and his children wouldn’t go to bed on a hungry stomach.

He said that dream was, however, shattered when he sought but failed to find employment and had to resort to collecting recyclable waste and sell it for cash.

A resident of Jeppestown, Motsore travels to the northern suburbs to collect boxes, plastic, steel and paper which he sells at a nearby recycling company.

His collection route includes Killarney, Norwood, Rosebank, Orange Grove, Bruma and Norwood, making about R150 to R200 a day.

Also read: Meet Norwood’s trolley pusher with a difference

“The money that you make here, it only covers the least of your problems just to get by and go a day. When I came to Joburg, I had ambitions like everyone else – but those dreams fade after I couldn’t find employment or better opportunities,” said the father of three.

“The struggle started when I was renting an apartment in Jeppe and later could not afford rent. The owner started to threaten me with eviction.”

As a last resort, collecting waste and selling waste became his daily moneymaking mechanism to avoid eviction and make a living.

“It was a difficult choice at first but I somehow got used to it and now it helps me to put food on the table, buy clothes and even pay rent. Even though some people ridicule us and call us names, it does not upset me anymore – because when I’m done and cleaned up, we all look the same,” he said.

Motsore said he has not given up on his dream of finding a job, adding that he’s got skills in painting, plumbing, building and as a handyman.

Read: FNB suspends three employees after bank burglaries

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