Cosatu: Modern-day slavery thriving on SA farms

Cosatu says that the SA Human Rights Commission and the Labour Department need to intensify their farm inspections.

FILE: A woman harvests maize. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on government to focus on the plight of farmworkers, claiming that modern-day slavery is thriving on South African farms.

The trade union federation says, during its Back to Basics campaign carried out last year, it discovered that farmworkers were being exploited and abused.

It says that many farmworkers do not enjoy paid sick, family or annual leave.

Cosatu says that the majority of farmworkers are born on farms where they work and have nowhere else to go.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says that the Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga are the most affected areas.

“The arrogance of the farmers is still rooted in the mentality of the apartheid era, where they don’t recognise the laws of the country.”

Pamla says that in one case, a farmer dismissed 3,000 workers and replaced them with foreign nationals.

“And then decided to hire people from outside the country. When we engaged with him, he defied trade unions and provincial government.”

Cosatu says the SA Human Rights Commission and the Labour Department need to intensify their farm inspections.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)