Probe into worker transport

In the wake of two horrifying accidents within a week, the Western Cape government has vowed to crack down on the ways farm workers are transported.

In the wake of two horrifying accidents within a week, the Western Cape government has vowed to crack down on the ways farm workers are transported.

Provincial agriculture MEC Cobus Dowry said on Wednesday he was "very concerned" about the lack of policing by traffic officials.

"I will engage with my colleagues in cabinet on the implementation of more stringent measures to protect the lives of farm workers who have to travel under these conditions," he said in a statement.

Seven farm workers were killed in an accident on the N1 near De Doorns in the Boland on Tuesday evening, when the truck carrying them overturned.

Last week 10 workers were killed when a bus taking seasonal workers home plunged down a cliff near Piketberg in the Swartland.

Dowry said he had been attending the memorial service for the Piketberg workers when he received news of the De Doorns accident.

He said he understood there were about 70 people standing on the back of the De Doorns truck, which was "totally unacceptable".

"It is shocking to think that we have lost yet another group of farm workers in an accident while they were travelling on an open truck which did not meet the required regulations," he said.

He said though many farmers complied with regulations on transporting workers, incidents like this showed a "total disregard" for workers' lives.

Although he had the full support of organised agriculture and most farmers, he wanted to meet them again on this issue.

He would ask for a conference to be set up with the agricultural and transport sectors. - Sapa

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