31 January 2013

South Africa: A Press Statement On Memorial Services and Ipid Investigation

More than 800 members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) gathered for the for the memorial service of the late Mr Letsekang Thokwane, allegedly murdered by police officers, at 18h00 last night (Wednesday) in Van Kirsten School Hall in the De Doorns town to pay homage to this Lesotho National.

We accept that Mr Thokwane was neither a member of FAWU nor a worker but, as a union, we felt it befitting to conduct memorial event as part of showing human solidarity to his family, friends and the community of De Doorns.

We call on the Minister of Police, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, to ensure that this matter does not fall below the radar screen and the investigation by the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) is expedited and dealt with in fair and just manner.

As FAWU we hold a strong conviction that a life of a poor person is as critical and valuable as a life of a billionaire in our country.

Equally, we call on the Ministers of Home Affairs, Ms Naledi Pandoor, and Justice, Jeff Radebe, to extend provide a special, even though temporary, dispensation for asylum and refugee status or work permits for the Lesotho Nationals who work on the Western Cape farms in particular and foreign nationals working in the agricultural sector in general given reported intentions of deporting them following the strike actions.

We still repeat our calls on farm owners not to victimize all farm workers but allow them back to work and to give access to trade unions to organize these workers and for them, as farm owners, to dialogue with trade unions.

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