14 January 2013

South Africa: Cosatu N Cape Backs Farm Workers

Photo: Kate Stegeman/Daily Maverick
A tense stand-off between police and protestors in Robertson after farmwokers protest turned violent

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the Northern Cape supports the striking farm workers in the Western Cape. Out unwavering support is as a result of the hardened attitude of the representatives of the employers. This is the real struggle against capitalist exploitation of the working class. We condemn the payment of a pittance by the farmers to the creators of their wealth.

We have noted that there are farmers who are willing to engage with the workers outside the confines of Agri-SA as they have seen the obsession of their counterparts with profit maximisation. It is a shame that farm workers work tirelessly to produce food that they cannot afford to buy from the shelves in the shops.

Agri-SA must stop hiding behind the international markets and food prices when they exploit their members exploit the workers. We wish to indicate that the crisis in the Western Cape is likely to spread to other provinces if not handled properly. Workers cannot be made to suffer the consequences of a failed system of capitalism while the capitalist bosses continue to enjoy the fruits of their toil that they are deprived of.

The forever loud Helen Zille and her girls are so quiet about the exploitation that is happening in their own backyard. Instead of reprimanding brothers and sisters in the farming community, she wants to pass her responsibility to the National Government. During the election campaign they will claim to be the liberators while they represent the exploiters of our people.

The intervention of COSATU and the alliance partners in the Western Cape in an attempt to resolve the matter should be commended. Our Federation has done, and continues to do work that Zille entail could not do which is testimony to the fact that the Western Cape is in the wrong hands. Our federation has provided real leadership in support of the farm workers.

We call on Agri-SA to put aside their arrogance and face the reality before more lives are lost in this situation. It is high time that the farm workers start benefiting from the wealth that they create by putting their lives in danger everyday in the farms. While we do not condone violence, we call on the farmers to stop provoking the workers by going into their communities to pick up the other workers in an attempt to divide the workers.

Workers must remain united and those that are sent to pick up the others must refuse because their lives are put in danger by those employers.

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