‘Underberg farmers violating workers’ basic rights,’ says ANCYL

2009-09-10 00:00

THE ANCYL in KwaZulu-Natal this week voiced its concerns about the treatment of farm workers in Underberg.

In a press statement, ANCYL provincial secretary Sboniso Duma said there is a trend of farmers harassing farm workers in Underberg and violating their basic rights.

“This follows a number of incidents where farm workers have been bea­ten, harassed and tortured by far­mers. When [farm workers] report such cases to the police, the police are sometimes reluctant to arrest those responsible,” said Duma.

In some cases, they get referred to a particular inspector, leading to many cases not being followed up, he said.

Duma alleges that black people in some areas are prevented from entering certain stores, which he says are reserved for the use of white people.

“Last week, the corpse of a young black man was found hanging in the trees of a farm in Mgxawuzo.

“The farmer claimed that he had found the body on the 18th of August, but it is surprising that he only informed the police of the corpse on the 30th of August 2009, when the family, through their own investigations, had located the body at the farm.

“The body was found already rotting. Police are still waiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death,” said Duma.

He said the ANCYL is calling on Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu to intervene and visit these farms in Underberg.

President of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu), Robin Barnsley, said that he has not received such allegations.

Barnsley advised that if cases are not acted on by the police, then they should be reported to the Provincial Land Rights Infringement Forum.

Barnsley also suggested that the farm workers should take the alleged perpetrators to court.

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