Meeting to address farming challenges

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Gauteng government has instructed senior officials to speedily convene an urgent meeting with all stakeholders, especially Farmer’s associations, labour unions, farm dwellers and civil society formations.

The meeting, which will be led by provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), aims to deal with all the challenges faced by the sector and developing strategies to deal concretely with attacks, assaults, exploitation and evictions meted out against farm workers or communities living in farms.

“We have a responsibility as government to provide leadership and address all the challenges. Our inability to act right now might fuel racial tensions, reminiscent of the past era,” MEC Lebogang Maile said.

This instruction from the MEC follows an arrest by police of a farmer’s wife and son accused of force-feeding faeces to one of his employees. 

According to the police, the incident occurred in early December 2017 and the worker was allegedly tortured after he failed to switch on the engine of a septic tank pump on the family’s smallholding outside Springs.

It is alleged that these two, including the farmer, took part in assaulting and humiliating the worker at their farm near Endicott, east of Johannesburg, before forcing the employee to eat faeces.

The accused are appearing at the Springs Magistrate Court today.

MEC Maile described the incident as dehumanising and an insult of the highest pedigree.

“The long arm of the law must take its course; the alleged culprits are spitting on the grave of the founding father of our Rainbow nation, the late President Nelson Mandela.

“No human being deserves such a dehumanizing and disgusting treatment in a supposedly free and democratic South Africa,” said MEC Maile. -