‘You touch them . . .’

2016-07-20 06:00
THOUSANDS of ANC members march to the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court on Saturday (16/07) to hand over a memorandum of complaints regarding the illegal eviction of farm workers.  Photos: Tladi Moloi

THOUSANDS of ANC members march to the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court on Saturday (16/07) to hand over a memorandum of complaints regarding the illegal eviction of farm workers. Photos: Tladi Moloi

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BOHLOKONG. – The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Free State has warned farmers to stop the illegal eviction of members of the farming community.

The ANCYL’s chairperson, Makalo Mohale, said they were not going to tolerate the manner in which people were being evicted from farms.

“We are warning you. You dare touch them again. Next time we will be in court with our communities, where they will be fighting for us to be released on bail, if this ‘nonsense’ keeps going on,” said Mohale.

“You may be lucky, because your fathers have stolen the land and you’re richer than them. That doesn’t mean you’re special. Those farms belong to all in this country. Thanks to those farms you’re able to eat bacon and eggs, because those farms look after those pigs and chickens.”

Mohale addressed thousands of ANC supporters who marched against the illegal eviction of farm workers on Saturday (16/07).

About 6 000 people marched from Cycle 2 in Bohlokong, Bethlehem, to the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court, where they handed their memorandums to representatives of the Department of Justice, the Department of Police, Roads and Transport and Free State Labour Law.

“You spend the whole day at the restaurant while our poor farm workers wake up in the morning to ensure that there are food for everyone. We are not going to have food if there are no people on the farms. You touch those people, you touch our hearts.”

Apparently, the march was sparked by recent evictions done in the area of Fouriesburg, where over 50 people were evicted from three farms (read more on p. 2).

Mohale pleaded with the farmers that they should not abuse their generosity.

“The ANC was not stupid when it said, let’s settle and create a harmonious society. When the ANC abandoned the armed struggle, it was not because we were afraid of the white people.

“We have said it in the freedom charter that South Africa belongs to those who live in it,” he concluded.

The memorandum demands that the eviction of farm workers, which is being done in a heartless and malicious manner, be stopped.

The grievances include:

  • Impounding the animals of farm dwellers and selling them at auctions, thereby depriving them of the only means of income that they have.
  • Compelling farm workers to work under unbearable conditions that pose a threat to their health and safety.
  • Coercing farm workers to work overtime in excess of what is prescribed by law, and not remunerating them accordingly.
  • Deducting monies from wages without workers’ consent and without justification.
  • Paying them wages that are lower than what the law prescribes.

The memorandums were handed over to Butana Komphela, MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Claudie Serber, assistant registrar in the Department of Justice, and Reyna Noeth, a representative of Free State Labour.

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