A TWO-DAY farm workers' summit held in Johannesburg at the weekend got off on a disappointing note, with Pretoria farmers snubbing the event.
Gauteng MEC for agriculture and rural development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza told delegates that farm workers had been denied attendance after an urgent meeting on Thursday night at which they were told not to attend.
At least 500 delegates - among them farm workers and farm dwellers, farmers, government and union officials had been expected to attend the summit in Turffontein on Friday and Saturday.
The summit discussed the plight of people living on farms.
Mayathula-Khoza said the decision to hold provincial summits was a fulfilment of the ANC's election manifesto on the plight of farm workers.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane told the terrifying story of a pregnant relative who was forced to work while she was sick. She was ectopic and ended up dying in the field.
The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) representative spoke of how farm workers were subjected to human rights violations.
He said the dwellers were frustrated by the police who refused to attend to their complaints.
Fawu sector organiser Moleko Phakedi said: "People on the farms have no access to justice. When they go to the police to report a case the police tell them to go and reconcile with the perpetrators."
The summit heard that farm workers had no regulated work hours and some were paid below the minimum wage - R1362 a month. They also had no access to basic services.
Fawu said they would follow up the case of members who were stopped from attending the summit.