PRESS RELEASE

The Congress of South African Trade Unions under the leadership of its Deputy General Secretary, Cde Solly Phetoe, will be visiting the farm workers and farm dwellers in the North West farm of Rooistad in Klerksdorp tomorrow, 28 JULY 2016, to fight their illegal eviction by the new farm owner. This workplace visit will be done jointly with the department of Rural Development and Land Reform in the province.

These poor farm workers, who have spent their whole lives on that farm, are being evicted with no regard to due legal processes by the new owner. The federation is intensifying its campaign of defending vulnerable workers ,and will be mobilising all progressives in the area to defend the workers against these unfair evictions, from a farm where they have lived for seventy {70} years.

This is part of the federation’s ongoing Back to Basic campaign, where the leadership is conducting workplace visits to deal with all challenges facing vulnerable workers across all the sectors of the economy. The federation is also ensuring that these workers are allowed to vote for their preferred representatives in the upcoming local government elections on the 3rd of August 2016.

The DGS of COSATU will also be joining National Union of Mineworkers during the union’s door to door and recruitment campaigns in the area of Marikana, Rustenburg on the same date of the 28th July 2016 .The visit at the farm will start at 08h30am and the Marikana campaign in the afternoon.

COSATU is deeply troubled by the farming sector’s total disregard for the country’s labour laws. We have seen a troubling continuation of the illegal evictions of farm workers and farm dwellers, who are not even given insufficient time notification or alternative housing.

Most of these workers are not even allowed to visit the graves of family members and friends on other farms after being evicted. Their graves are sometimes desecrated or destroyed and their live stock confiscated by farmers during these evictions.

We cannot allow generations of farm workers, who were born on the farms, where they work, to be treated and evicted in the same way they were evicted by the evil apartheid regime.

While, generally, the country has made strides in improving workers’ labour and human rights, there is still a lot that needs to be done to protect farm workers. We are encouraged by the efforts from the departments of Rural development and Labour Reform and Labour to enforce labour rights on the farms ;but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. We expect these departments to invest more resources to protect farm workers and also the Human Rights Commission needs to play its role to protect vulnerable farm workers.

Agri Northern Cape

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