Workers accuse police, farmers of brutality

2013-01-17 17:44
Striking farmworkers (Picture: AFP)

Striking farmworkers (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Cape Town - The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is investigating at least 20 complaints of brutality against striking Western Cape farmworkers, it said on Thursday.

"At the last count, it was 20 complaints, but we're still counting the most recent ones. The complaints are against the police, farmers and private security," SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.

He said workers had reported cases of police brutality, racism and inhumane living and working conditions.

SAHRC officials were visiting the affected areas, including De Doorns, to gather information on the cases and help the community lodge complaints.

On Monday, spaza shop worker Letsekang Tlokoane, 25, died when he was allegedly shot with rubber bullets in De Doorns.

The same day, a 10-year-old girl was apparently shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Moses Dlamini said he had received from the SAHRC numerous cases involving the police, mostly of assault and the use of rubber bullets at close range.

Farmworkers went on strike last year to demand that their daily wage be increased from R69 to R150, and that a coherent land reform programme be implemented. The strike was suspended in December, but resumed last Wednesday in various towns in the province.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) announced a week-long suspension of the strike on Tuesday, on condition that Agri SA honour commitments to "local-level" agreements and agree to stop the victimisation of workers.

Both Cosatu's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich and Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg said a large number of farmworkers were back at work on Thursday.

However, the Black Association of the Wine and Spirit Industry (Bawsi) said the strike was still on.

"The strike will continue across the province until there is an agreement for better wages and worker protection," said Nosey Pieterse, Bawsi president and general secretary of the Building and Allied Workers' Union of SA.

Pieterse said he represented thousands of striking workers who did not belong to unions.

Minority of workers unionised

The agriculture department estimated the number of permanent and seasonal workers in the province at around 200 000.

Of these, only 5% were unionised, Ehrenreich said.

Despite this figure, he said Cosatu had more influence in the strike than Bawsi did.

"Cosatu is a national organisation with incredible influence and power, with alarming strength. This is not a competition though. We want to work with smaller organisations. Bawsi is a small organisation with significant influence."

At least 180 people had been arrested in connection with the protests since Wednesday last week, mostly for public violence.

Western Cape police spokesperson Andre Traut said marching workers in De Doorns were being monitored on Thursday afternoon.

"No incidents of violence have been reported as yet," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    sahrc  |  ipid  |  cosatu  |  tony ehrenreich  |  gerrit van rensburg  |  cape town  |  farmworker protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
59 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Milnerton 14:30 PM
Road name: Marine Drive

TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Boundary Road

Cape Town 12:55 PM
Road name: Nelson Mandela Boulevard Inbound

FLOODING near the Strand Street exit - approach with caution

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.