IEC holds talks with farmer unions

2014-01-22 13:21
IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula speaks to representatives of farmer unions in Benoni, in order to ensure that farmworkers are able to register and vote in the upcoming elections. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula speaks to representatives of farmer unions in Benoni, in order to ensure that farmworkers are able to register and vote in the upcoming elections. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Independent Electoral Commission held talks with farmer unions in Benoni on Wednesday to ensure farm workers were able to register and vote in the 2014 elections.

IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula told farmers' and workers' organisations that without them the IEC's business would be incomplete.

"You keep South Africa's economic engine running."

She said labour unrest in South African farming communities in 2012 and 2013 was a problem that needed a lasting solution.

This year's election was special because it marked the 20th anniversary of South Africa's hard-earned democracy.

"In 2014 we have to relive the magic of 1994 and we have to make our kids excited to participate in the elections."

Voters should remember the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela as they prepare to cast their ballots.

Access to farms

Tlakula appealed to all in the agricultural sector to allow the IEC's staff reasonable access to their farms, as they had done in the past.

IEC commissioners listened to representatives of farmers' and workers' organisations, including AgriSA, TAU SA, the African Farmers' Association of SA, and the Food and Allied Workers Union - before signing an agreement to ensure farm workers could register and vote freely.

Under the agreement, the IEC would be allowed reasonable access to areas to do their work, in particular voter registration and voter education.

Voters would be allowed to go to political rallies at public amenities.

The IEC would be allowed access to use designated places for registration and as voting stations where appropriate. People would also be allowed time off to register and vote.

Visits to farms would take place in accordance with protocols for access to farms.

The first agreement between the IEC and the farming community was signed in March 2004 for the national and provincial elections in April that year.

- SAPA

Read more on:    agrisa  |  tau sa  |  iec  |  pansy tlakula  |  johannesburg  |  elections 2014  |  agriculture
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