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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU North West press statement on farm workers having black Christmas

11-12-08

The Congress of South African Trade Union in the North West condemns the brutal attitude of farmers, supported by the Department of Labours inspectors, around Ottosdal to dismiss and evict farm workers during the December holidays.

The COSATU provincial secretary visited the farm areas as part of the federations service delivery drive to confront challenges faced by farm workers. It was clear in meetings on more than three farms that families are already in a black Christmas, create d by the Department of Labour inspectors in Ottosdal.

It is on record in papers submitted to the Ottosdal magistrates court that farmers are advised by labour inspectors to treat them and their families very badly and dismiss them unprocedurally.

More than thirteen families are facing eviction during January 2009 just before the election. Some families have already been evicted since 2005 and are still staying with their families in the stadium with no water, electricity and toilets. The Occupation al Health and Safety Act is not respected. Farmers do what they think is good for their profit with the advice of labour inspectors who are very arrogant towards farm workers.

The affidavit submitted by farmers to the Ottosdal magistrates court against farm workers shows very clearly that labour inspectors are supporting farmers to victimise, evict, dismiss, and assault farm workers, e.g. Mr Isaac Moholeng who has worked in the farm Diamantaar for 40 years and was evicted in 2007. Since then he has been paying R100 for accommodation, water and electricity and R50 for each of his children while he is not working. The Department of Labour and Land Affairs is doing nothing, even tho ugh the matter has been reported to them.

COSATU calls on the Department of Labour to remove those inspectors from the Ottosdal area, and put in a team from the ministers office to investigate the labour inspectors. We strongly call for the Minister of Labour to investigate the allegations which is proven by the farmers affidavit against labour inspectors. We call for immediate suspension of those labour inspectors whose names appear in the affidavit supporting farmers. The Department of Land affairs must make sure that those families are protect ed by the police and that they have accommodation.

For more information feel free to call Solly Phetoe, COSATU NW Provincial Secretary, on 082 304 4055.

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