Cosatu threatens civil war over farm wages
28 November 2012 3 Comments
Update: Tony Ehrenreich of Cosatu threatens ‘a low-level civil war’; WC farmers warned to be on alert from December 4; while Labour Department still holds public hearings on farm-workers wages. Meanwhile a white farmer in South Africa is more at risk of being brutally tortured to death and murdered than a police officer. link
Nov 27 2012 — AgriWesKaap warns farmers to be alert from December 4 – after threats of ‘low-level civil war’ were levelled by Cosatu regional secretary Tony Ehrenreich. Meanwhile at a poultry farm in Olifantsfontein Gauteng, Cosatu still supported an illegal wage-strike on November 22, with violent attacks against non-striking workers a daily occurrance at the besieged farm-gates.
Farmers fearful of renewed violence from 4 December after Cosatu trade unionist threatens ‘Civil War on Farms’ …
- Also: 4 Dec 2012 confrontation expected on West Cape Farms: this advocate provides advice on the farmers’ rights to protect their own lives and properties:
Olifantsfontein, Gauteng: Why were workers still striking Nov 22 at Early Bird poultry farm?
Below: Meanwhile despite these ‘negotiations between farmers and workers’ and the ‘hearings being held by the labour minister’ there still are strikes going on against farms. For instance, at the Early Bird poultryfarm in Olifantsfontein in Gauteng on November 22 2012 – a full week after Cosatu ‘ordered an end to the strikes on farms’ – this poultry farm remained under siege from strikers, and Putco buses were bringing in casual workers while 1,600 of the 2,816 workers are out on an illegal strike, according to the ANC-party newspaper “The New Age”. http://www.thenewage.co.za/71150-1009-53-Chicken_wage
Ehrenreich reportedly told journalists, according to SAPA, that ‘should AgriSA and the unions come to an agreement, there would definitely be no strike on 4 December. Should a strike go ahead, it would most likely lead to violence and death: This strike… can set back labour relations on farms by decades and could see a reversal to the low-level civil war we all witnessed on farms a few weeks ago,” he reportedly said.
The man flew into his public rage after yesterday’s announcement by SA National Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant that ‘it would be impossible to meet the 4 December deadline’ for establishing new minimum wages. She was still travelling around the country, holding meetings on the issue with farm workers and farmers.
Ehrenreich raged that while he “understood wage reviews took time, her remarks undermined negotiations between AgriSA and unions. The minister should be supporting this process, but in her statement she sounds more like the minister of farmers instead of the minister of labour.”
Ehrenreich fumed that “Oliphant should not wash her hands” of the situation, but should provide leadership and a sense of urgency to the review.
Oliphant announced on Tuesday that the socalled ‘ sectoral determination ‘ for countrywide minimum wages – which she usually sets every March – now could “only be reviewed in April.” She told journalists in Pretoria: “”I hope it is quite clear that the deadline of December 4 2012 is practically impossible to achieve, considering the limitations as per the Basic Conditions of Employment Act,” she told reporters in Pretoria. She pointed out that ‘the act allowed a review of the determination only 12 months after promulgation. The latest sectoral determination was put in place in March and would have been in place until February 2015.”
- Western Cape fruitfarm-workers demand that the minimum wage of R70 a day be raised to R150 a day excluding their free perks such as housing, electricity, food etc.
While less than five percent of all the farm-workers countrywide are actually unionised, Cosatu still claimed that ‘workers agreed to suspend their strike” – which was described earlier by Ehrenreich as a low-level civil war — until 4 December on condition that the employment condition commission (ECC) look at the sectoral determination for agriculture.
- It’s this murky* ECC which advises Oliphant on wages and other conditions of employment. As part of the strike suspension agreement, Oliphant published her intention to cancel the current sectoral determination, which sets minimum monthly wages at R1,503.90. Basically, her hands are tied by the requirements set down in this law. Undoubtedly Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary knows this law and its limitations. Yet he still issued his inciting threats against the country’s farmers.
Oliphant’s public hearings for workers and their employers started only a week ago in the Western Cape and were set to end in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng on 13 December: Labour Dept Schedule.
Representatives of both sides had been in negotiations since the strike was ‘suspended’ although violence still continued for days afterwards in several Western Cape towns such as Wolseley, which entire central business district was thrashed by a raging ‘flash-mob’ which had been bused in from other towns.
Oliphant called for ‘workers to refrain from violence.’ When asked if workers would hold off on further protests until April she said: “I can’t guarantee that one. I can’t say there will be a strike or what’ll be going on.”
Ehrenreich said: “Should AgriSA and the unions come to an agreement, there would definitely be no strike on 4 December. Should a strike go ahead, it would most likely lead to violence and death.” He continued: “This strike… can set back labour relations on farms by decades and could see a reversal to the low-level civil war we all witnessed on farms a few weeks ago.” Entire article on:
*Who are these five faceless people on the labour department’s Employment Condition Commission?
Tel: (012) 309 4361 Fax: (012) 309 4709 Postal address: Private Bag X117, Pretoria, 0001 https://www.labour.gov.za/contacts
Farm murders should be classified as a priority crime – they are a national crisis
By Nico Strydom on 27 November 2012 – ‘Farm murders and attacks should be recognised for the national crisis that it is and therefore deserving of priority status and focused attention’. This is one of the recommendations in a report on farm murders and attacks that was released today by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI). The report forms part of a national campaign against farm murders by the Solidarity Movement which includes the SRI, the trade union Solidarity, AfriForum and Kraal Uitgewers.
The report deals with subjects such as the nature and extent of farm attacks, levels of violence during farm attacks as well as psychological effects on victims.
SA government claims these are just another ’murder-category’
According to Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity, farm attacks and farm murders should be declared priority crimes. ‘Government refuses to declare farm murders, in particular, a priority crime, because as far as government is concerned it simply forms part of the broader murder category. This is unacceptable and irresponsible,’ Hermann said. Hermann’s concerns were echoed by various experts who were involved in compiling the report.
‘Farming community disproportionally targetted’ – Institute for Security Studies
‘It is obvious that the government no longer considers the ongoing attacks on farms and the murder of persons involved in the farming community as a priority,’ said Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, in the report’s introduction.
- ‘The strategic and operational response to the threat of farm attacks and murders is clearly not based on the acknowledgement that the farming community is disproportionally targeted when compared to the victimisation risk of other citizens or groups in South Africa.’
“Farmers under siege not taken seriously by government” – Criminology expert Prof Christiaan Bezuidenhout
According to Prof Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a professor of criminology at the University of Pretoria, it is evident that South Africa is struggling to cope with violent crime in general and farm attacks in particular. ‘I am under the impression that the current government is not taking the disastrous enigma of farmers under siege seriously enough and they are making the farmer the outcast instead of the provider of the nation.’
“ No human being deserves to be killed in such an inhumane, brutal manner” – Lorraine Claasen, criminologist:
Lorraine Claasen, a criminologist, says it is disconcerting that farm attacks are still not given the attention they deserve despite the harrowing details that become apparent after only reading the details of a few farm attacks; thousands of attacks have been documented. ‘In conclusion, no human being deserves being killed and in such an inhumane, unjustified and brutal manner. Why is this allowed?’
Memorandi to 110 embassies and international institutions:
AfriForum, the movement’s civil rights organisation, distributed memorandums about farm murders to 110 embassies and international institutions in October to create international awareness about the crisis.
- According to Nantes Kelder, head of AfriForum’s investigating unit, the establishment of community safety networks is the most practical step a community can take to drastically reduce crime in its area. It is a legal way in which communities can take the initiative to enhance their own safety.
Media statement, Solidarity, 27 November 2012.
Why are Afrikaner farmers being murdered in South Africa?
DefenceWeb #SouthAfrica has highest rate of #FarmAttacks in the world – 700% higher than any other country: