Citrus workers on strike for 'no pay'

MORE than 150 workers at the Mawuka Citrus Estates in Letsitele Valley outside Tzaneen in Limpopo went on strike yesterday demanding their outstanding wages.

They claimed that they had not been paid their wages for two months because the farm management had told them that there was no money to pay them.

The workers on the 470hectare mango and orange-producing farm accused farm management of "not taking them seriously".

They said they had decided to embark on a strike in order to put pressure on management to pay them what is "due" to them.

The workers say that the farm belongs to the Mokgolobotho Communal Property Association.

They also claim that the association had told them that they had no money to pay their wages.

The farm was allegedly returned to the community more than five years ago but was placed under the management of strategic partner Cape Span.

Cape Span allegedly told the workers that they would not be paid until the government had paid R6,1million allegedly owed to the company.

Spokesperson for the workers Ronnie Mokgolobotho said they downed tools yesterday. He said they would not return to work until they got their money.

He said Cape Span also told them that the R5million paid to the company last year was finished and that a large part of it was used to pay the workers.

"We have decided to embark on the strike because we could not work on empty stomachs.

"Also, our families are starving," Mokgolobotho said.

According to Mokgolobotho, if nothing was done to meet the workers' demands, they would approach the government for intervention.

Attempts yesterday to get a comment from Cape Span spokesperson Boetie Strauss drew a blank as his phone was not answered.