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FAWU Statement on Mpumalanga Level-Crossing Accident That Killed 25 Farm Workers
16 July 2012
FAWU is still horrified over the tragic incident last Friday, 13 July 2012 that caused the deaths of 25 farm workers in Mpumalanga. These types of accidents are sadly becoming a common occurrence in our country in which farm workers are still being transported in open trucks. Apparently, the truck driver tried to cross the railway between Malelane and Hectorspruit when a train smashed into it.
The incident reaffirms the need for government to step in and ban the transport of farm workers in open trucks without any safety mechanisms as well as to implement more stringent mechanisms to ensure railway safety. It has been reported that there were no visible railway crossing signs warning drivers of passing trains.
It is also ironic that the incident took place at one of the sites meant to spearhead the Department of Labourís (DOL) plan to improve health and safety on farms. To this end, FAWU is also participating in the Departmentís efforts to improve occupational health and safety in agriculture through the National Tripartite Technical Committee.
We are however happy over media reports earlier today that the driver of the truck who is allegedly owned by a labour broker, has been charged with 25 counts of culpable homicide this morning in a Barberton court. FAWU will be following the trial closely and hopes that this will act as a deterrent for farmers and other reckless drivers who drive around these poor workers without concern for their safety.
Our sympathy goes out to all the families and friends of those injured and those who passed away during this horror accident.
Released by FAWU media officer , Dominique Swartz on 082 498 5631.