Speech made by YCL National Secretary Cde Buti Manamela to De Doors today

Category: Speeches

7 November 2012

Revolutionary greetings from the more than 80 000 strong members of the The Young Communist League of South Africa (uFasimba). We have been monitoring the situation of farm workers for some time and saw it fit to come and listen to the demands of De Doorn farm workers. The YCL supports the demands of the De Doorns farm workers in the Western Cape in their strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and an end to unjustified evictions.

Some of these farm workers are paid just R55 a day by exploitative farm owners. 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 hard work they do to maximize the profits of the farm owners.

Some labour brokers used by these farm bosses transport farm workers in trucks that are not meant for passengers thus putting the life of workers in danger.

Workers 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 condemn the violence against workers and demand an immediate solution to the impasse without the loss of life. We demand police immediately deal with the issue of the irate farmer who opened fire on workers yesterday. An investigation must be carried out as to the reason for the police handing over a coloured youth to a white shop owner to assault him after looting his shop rather than arresting him. These images, of a coloured youth being assaulted by a white shop owner were broadcast to the nation yesterday on eNCA news.

The silence by the Western Cape MEC for agriculture Mr. Gerrit Van Rensburg is revealing. His choosing to ignore the situation further proves to us that himself and the party he belongs to and serves under, Democratic Alliance is not concerned about the working class and the poor.

Since the De Doorns situation does not present an opportunity for media hype we will not see Madam Zille taking action on it. She will not be marching to the shop owner`s house this Sunday protesting neither against his assault nor to the farm owner house that shot protesting workers.

Instead of rushing to invade Nkandla Helen Zille must first deal with the issues that are happening in her own backyard. She needs to quickly realize that the world does not revolved around making headlines and media attention. If the De Doorns situation was offering a pad to launch her 2014 elections campaign we don`t doubt that she would have shown her face there.

At the centre of all this situation is the issue of land ownership. As the YCL we feel that transformation is moving at a snails pace. More land needs to be transferred to previously disadvantaged people. The willing buyer and willing seller mode is not serving our people and needs to be done away with and put up measures that will deal issues if land ownership with a sense of urgency.

Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report into the conditions of farm workers in the Western Cape. The report found that the conditions of farm workers are perilous with many not being allowed the right to organise, decent sanitation or housing. The HRW called on immediate measures to be taken to improve the lives of the farm workers. The situation in De Doorns proves that the report was largely ignored by the provincial administration.

Farm workers are amongst the most vulnerable in society, yet do some of the hardest work to ensure the nation is fed and nourished. We as the YCL say that this must change now.

For more information contact:

Khaya Xaba
YCLSA Media Liason Officer
Cell: 074 5 204 204/078 893 9209