Once again we are tricked into believing that the farm workers’ strike is a question of unlawfulness and wrong doing. Those that control the state and the media seek to undermine the intelligence of our people by discrediting the poor workers. We support the struggle of the farm workers knowing that most of them are youth and have no one else to turn to.
It is the view of the youth of the PAC in the Western Cape (PAYCO) that the farm workers, like all the other hard labourers, have been down trodden by both the farmers and the ruling party while the government is turning the blind eye in favour of capital while the servitude of our people continues unabated. The postponement of negotiations until next year is a creation of an unnecessary Marikana situation from the government. We plead to the minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, to treat this matter as urgent, because the workers cannot wait any longer.
The actions of those in power have left us dismayed and flabbergasted as they seem to be willing to deploy SANDAF and all fancy security companies to protect their capitalist interest over the needs of our people. Our people are criminalized, vilified and victimized for daring to want a humane treatment for themselves as workers. This is post 1994 cheap labour maintenance which is nothing but slavery. We cannot allow this to continue.
We do not only support the R150 a day minimum wage for farm workers but we demand with them the following;
1. Better working conditions,
2. Access to the housing subsidy near their working environments,
3. Access to the retirement fund,
4. Access to medical services,
5. Access to a quarter of the land they work as their own so that they can also work for themselves
Only this will guarantee a free waiver of the right to dignity for all if they do not get these demands. Until all these demands are met we maintain that the farming conditions are far worse that the dope system and slavery which was characteristics of both the Colonial and the apartheid governments.
We plead that all the youth close to the strikers must give logistical support and all the progressive political parties, and NGO’s should understand that not only the major routes in Cape Town will be disrupted by the strikers but the livelihoods of the farm workers will suffer a lot of strain.
It is befitting for us to note and perhaps remind South Africans that at the core of the recent strikes for instance, Marikana and De dorrns, the land questions and the ownership of the means of production is still relevant. We have always maintained that “land first, all shall follow”.
The revolutionary voice of the youth!
PAYCO Western Cape