Four more Western Cape farmworkers injured as trailer transporting them overturns

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Four farmworkers sustained injuries in a Nuy Valley accident, near Worcester on Tuesday.
Four farmworkers sustained injuries in a Nuy Valley accident, near Worcester on Tuesday.
  • Four people have been injured in another accident involving farmworker transportation.
  • The accident follows two accidents in January, in which a number of farmworkers were injured.
  • Western Cape Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer requested the provincial Standing Committee on Agriculture to look into farmworker transportation.  

Four farmworkers have been injured in an accident in the Nuy Valley, near Worcester, after the trailer they were being transported on overturned late on Tuesday.

Head of communication at the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works Jandré Bakker confirmed the accident, saying its cause was still under investigation.

The Western Cape government's emergency medical services spokesperson, Deanna Bessick, confirmed that four people had been taken to hospital for treatment.

"The call came through at 17:38 on Tuesday. Western Cape government health’s paramedics, rescue team and a private ambulance service were at the scene and assisted the patients. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. Four patients were transported to hospital by the private ambulance service," she said.

READ | Activists demand drastic intervention on farmworker truck transport

The accident follows two similar incidents involving farmworkers, which took place in January.

A truck transporting about 80 farmworkers crashed near Paarl in the Western Cape on Wednesday 27 January, leaving at least two people seriously injured. The truck overturned on the R44, before the Durbanville offramp, in the direction of Wellington. 

On Monday 4 January, a woman died and at least 13 people were injured, one seriously, when a truck transporting 37 farmworkers apparently lost control during heavy rain near Worcester.

Western Cape ANC MPL Pat Marran said it was unacceptable that farmworkers were still transported like sheep on open trucks and trailers.

He believes these accidents will continue unless laws are changed.

Marran added:

This is not the first time an accident like this occurred, where farmworkers are injured because they are transported like animals. Yesterday's accident was even worse since it appears the workers were transported on the back of a trailer.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela and Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer have both  called on the agricultural sector to take greater care in ensuring farmworkers' safety.

Meyer has requested the Standing Committee on Agriculture to look into the issue of transportation of farmworkers.  

"The transporting of agri-workers on open trucks poses a significant threat to the safety of workers. There is currently no law that determines the number of people to be loaded at the back of a bakkie or a truck. The only way to determine whether a truck is overloaded is through weighing it at the weighbridge, but that remains a challenge as body weight differs from the goods load that is usually transported by heavy vehicles," he said.

Meyer added that vehicles should only carry 50% of their licenced capacity under Covid-19 regulations.

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