Manamela visits striking De Doorns farmers, supports COSATU`s efforts to protect workers

Category: Statements

7 November 2012

After thoroughly assessing and investigating the situation the Young Communist League of South Africa (uFasimba) fully supports the demands of the De Doorns farmers, in the Western Cape, in their strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and an end to unjustified evictions. We as a working class organisation we recognize that the workers who toil the soil are farmers, while others, often reffered to as farmers, are rather management, employers or farm owners.

Most of these farmers are paid just R70 a day by exploitative employers. Workers can`t be expected to raise families and sustain themselves on a mere R1400 a month. The YCL feels that the R150 they are demanding is justified considering the harsh conditions they endure and the seasonal nature of their employment. It must be noted that most full time workers in the area are only paid 8 months a year, which means that in real terms their wages are only R933.00 a month, (8months R1400/ 12months) We believe that since De Doorns a table grape farming area is very profitable and Cde Buti Manamela noticed many BMWs and 44s being driven by farm owners. We are shocked that even a R10 a day increase has been rejected by farm owners, this shows a serious lack of negotiation on the part of the farmer.

We reject claims that workers are violent, but express disappointment in the damaging of property and inicdents of looting that occured. However these unfortunate incidents were largely focused on by media while two employers actually attempted to murder their workers and shot at them. The attempted murder by farm owners is a shocking and a seriously dangerous attack on relations between the oppressed working class by the capitalist elite. We call upon police to deal harshly with any gun welding persons.

The continous denial of the Western Cape provincial government and the DA lead government of the serious problems on farms shows the absolute biase they have towards farm owners.

Workers on farms are amongst the most vulnerable in society, yet do some of the hardest work to ensure the nation is fed and nourished.

We also oppose the many labour brokers used by these employers to divide and confuse workers. We also are further concerned by bosses who transport farmers in trucks that are not meant for passengers, and note that there an estimated dozen deaths each season from accidents in De Doorns because of these unsafe trucks. We were told that farmers are on a daily basis evicted by the farm owners and have been encouraged to move to informal settlements where they will qualify for RDP houses.

We as the YCL say that this must change now.

Issued by YCLSA Head Office

For more information contact:
Khaya Xaba
Cell: 074 5 204 204/078 893 9209