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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Minister leads fight against farm abuses

By unknown | Feb 01, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kamogelo Seekoei and Selby Makgotho

Kamogelo Seekoei and Selby Makgotho

Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana has pleaded for help in efforts to stop atrocities against farmworkers.

She made it clear this week that it was only with the help of other stakeholders that farm killings and ill-treatment of workers could be stopped.

Farm killings, evictions and the abuse of farmworkers were discussed at a meeting in Pretoria on Tuesday between Xingwana, her deputy and the department's provincial MECs.

The MECs cited, among others, an incident in which a farmer had exhumed a body buried on his farm.

"First the body was in the mortuary for three months before it was buried because the farmer did not want it there," the MECs said in a statement.

"Evictions, murders on farms and the abuse of farmworkers' rights are matters of concern. There is an urgent need to engage with the safety and security cluster to ensure it responds effectively," department spokesman Tsotso Sehoole said.

She said the MECs had related incidents of farmers impounding livestock belonging to farm dwellers, denying them their right to bury members of their families, denying access to schools, water and other basic services and continuing to evict them illegally.

The meeting condemned the killing of farmworkers and called on all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to these challenges.

Eddie Mulaudzi, of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs, said because crime was not an isolated issue on farms, all the stakeholders had to be involved, including the law enforcing departments.

"It is the Department of Safety and Security's mandate to protect all citizens, not the ministry of agriculture and land affairs," Mulaudzi said.

The MECs highlighted instances where there were positive developments.

"There are farms where white commercial farmers have empowered previously disadvantaged communities into economically thriving communities," they said in their statement.

Sehoole said the meeting supported the proposed AgriBEE Charter and invited the public to participate in the consultation process.


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