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 Farmers want clarity on abuse

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PosOnderwerp: Farmers want clarity on abuse   Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:32 am


2010-08-04 16:10

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Bloemfontein - Free State farmers on Wednesday urged the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) to put case-specific details of human rights abuse and labour violations in the province on the discussion table.

Free State Agriculture president Louw Steytler told farmers at the organisation's annual conference they could then look at the cases with the labour federation.

"We will look at it together and those individuals who take part in these malpractices would be spoken to," he said.

He was referring to allegations made by labour unions during the recent National Farm Labour Summit that took place in Somerset West.

Steytler said should these "low and wild" allegations prove to be wrong, the farmers could get a legal opinion on the matter, because farmers believe these unsubstantiated statements led to farm attacks.

"We have sent out the message over and over, Free State farmers must respect the laws and the Constitution."

Referring to labour transgressions, Steytler said: "Those complaints (labour or human rights violations) should be reported, be investigated and (where) relevant it should be brought before a court."

Land reform plan

Steytler said the transgressors should get a fair hearing and if found guilty be punished.

"We have had it with the generalisations which are the style of the day."

Turning to land reform, Steytler said Free State farmers and Agri SA had been sitting with a land reform plan "for years".

He said it was presented to government, including former president Thabo Mbeki during a visit to Bethlehem, on numerous occasions but it had been ignored.

"For years we have been sitting with this pool of knowledge within agriculture and related businesses but from government's side they are either ashamed or too slow to get into a partnership," said Steytler.

He said recently President Jacob Zuma and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson indicated they want copies of the land reform plan.
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