Farmworkers' groups call for better transport measures after deadly crash

Two trucks collided on the N1 between Touwsrivier and De Doorns on Tuesday morning, leaving nine workers dead and 18 injured.


CAPE TOWN - Farming organisations are calling on authorities to implement stricter measures in transporting farmworkers after nine workers died in a crash.

Two trucks collided on the N1 between Touwsrivier and De Doorns on Tuesday morning.

Eighteen people were injured and taken to hospital.

Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

Women on Farms said that commercial agriculture relied primarily on cheap seasonal labour, with workers usually transported in overcrowded, poorly-fitted and low-sided open trucks.

The group's Carmen Louw said that government must introduce and enforce strict provisions for the safe and dignified transport of workers.

"Some people are standing on the lorries, which over overloaded... nobody checks them. There must be regulation."

She said that farmworkers should be transported in taxis.

The Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation's Billy Claasen agreed, adding that the use of open trucks was dangerous as farmworkers were seated without any protection such as seatbelts.

And this is not the first time he's raising this issue.

"These kinds of things must stop because farmworkers are all human beings. We asked government in the past to put a stop to these kinds of things and to ask bus and taxi operators to transport farmworkers but nothing has been done about it."

The Western Cape Transport Department is yet to respond to EWN's request for comment.