Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Premier wants to bring the army in to keep the peace in rural areas

Imogen Vollenhoven
28 November 2012

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula must send the army to Western Cape rural areas to prevent farmworker violence, provincial Premier Helen Zille said on Wednesday.

She said the army was needed to keep the peace and to prevent workers from becoming violent.

 Her request followed Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant's announcement on Tuesday that the December 4 deadline to review the agricultural sectoral determination would not be met.

 Oliphant said the Basic Conditions of Employment Act allowed a review of the determination only 12 months after promulgation.

The latest sectoral determination was put in place in March.

Sixteen
Western Cape towns were hit by violent protests this month over farming wages and working conditions. Two people died and there was extensive damage to property.

The protests started with table grape harvesters in De Doorns, who were calling for wages of R150 a day.
Most earn between R69 and R75 a day.

Workers agreed to suspend their strike until December 4 on condition that the employment condition commission  look at the sectoral determination for agriculture.

Representatives of both sides have been in negotiations since the strike was suspended.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions  in the
Western Cape accused Oliphant of undermining these negotiations with her announcement and said the news could renew strikes.

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