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

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

Man dies in scooter crash

2014-04-19 17:02

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

 
 

We will give you police - Zille

A total of 250 000 police on the streets is one of the election promises Helen Zille made during an anti-drugs and gangsterism march in Manenberg, Cape Town.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! 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

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...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.