Strike leader's NPO gets funding from govt

Nosey Pieterse's organisation received funding from the government but he says it was all above board.

Police keep an eye on farmworkers who protest in Wolseley on 9 January 2013. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - One of the main organisers behind a series of chaotic farmworkers strikes in the Western Cape says there is nothing sinister about a non-profit organisation (NPO) he runs receiving funding from government.

Nosey Pieterse's organisation, The Black Association of the Wine and Spirits Industry, has received money from the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department.

This emerged at joint meeting of the department, Labour Ministry officials and Members of Parliament in March.

Pieterse has acknowledged this, but insists it was above board.

He says he had to apply for funding.

"We did [apply] and we were successful as a non-profit organisation. We had to sign a service level agreement but it wasn't money for the union."

He says the money was used to finance awareness campaigns for farm labourers.

In November, farmworkers embarked on a strike demanding a daily wage of R150.

The protests started in De Doorns before quickly spreading to neighbouring towns.

In March, the government implemented a new minimum wage of R105.

Hundreds of farmers have written to the Labour Ministry asking to be exempt as they cannot afford the new minimum wage.