Cosatu warns of renewed farm violence

Cosatu warns of renewed farm violence

2012-11-27 22:42

Cape Town - Failure to meet a deadline for a review of the sectoral determination for agriculture could result in a repeat of violent strikes, Cosatu said on Tuesday.

Western Cape Congress of SA Trade Unions secretary Tony Ehrenreich said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was adding fuel to the fire by saying it would be impossible to meet the 4 December deadline.

He said he understood wage reviews took time, but her remarks undermined negotiations between AgriSA and unions.

"The minister should be supporting this process, but in her statement she sounds more like the minister of farmers instead of the minister of labour."

Ehrenreich said Oliphant should not "wash her hands" of the situation, but should provide leadership and a sense of urgency to the review.

Oliphant announced on Tuesday that the sectoral determination could only be reviewed in April.

"I hope it is quite clear that the deadline of December 4 2012 is practically impossible to achieve, considering the limitations as per the Basic Conditions of Employment Act," she told reporters in Pretoria.

She said the act allowed a review of the determination only 12 months after promulgation. The latest sectoral determination was put in place in March and would have been in place until February 2015.

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 earned between R69 and R75 a day.

Workers agreed to suspend their strike until 4 December on condition that the employment condition commission (ECC) look at the sectoral determination for agriculture. The ECC advises Oliphant on wages and other conditions of employment. As part of the strike suspension agreement, Oliphant published her intention to cancel the current sectoral determination, which sets minimum monthly wages at R1 503.90.

Public hearings for workers and their employers began last week in the Western Cape and were set to end in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng on 13 December.

Representatives of both sides had been in negotiations since the strike was suspended. Oliphant called for workers to refrain from violence.

When asked if workers would hold off on further protests until April she said: "I can't guarantee that one. I can't say there will be a strike or what'll be going on."

Ehrenreich said should AgriSA and the unions come to an agreement, there would definitely be no strike on 4 December. Should a strike go ahead, it would most likely lead to violence and death.

"This strike... can set back labour relations on farms by decades and could see a reversal to the low-level civil war we all witnessed on farms a few weeks ago," he said.

  • thandiwe.ngema.71 - 2012-11-27 22:56

    COSATU is warning of violent strikes, not normal strikes. If anyone is violent I think they should automatically lose their job and be put in prison. I know COSATU is a big unofficial supporter of violence, but it is unacceptable.

      wwrer.ww - 2012-11-27 23:57

      Ban unions like in China. 9% GDP growth per year. Since we are all becoming Communists now anyway. The unions must to go. The USSR didn't have unions. Ban all the unions. Communist Cuba doesn't have unions. Communist China doesn't have any unions. Ban them all. If you want to live like a communist Vavi. THEN BAN THEM. BAN THEM ALL. You can't live like a capitalist and be a communist. Either you are a capitalist or you are a communist. And communists don't have unions. We should ban every union from this country since we are now becoming communist anyway.

      nicholas.graan - 2012-11-28 08:20

      If these strikes don't happen naturally Cosatu and all the other opportunist like Ehrenreich will make absolutely sure they happen. The more violence and destruction the better. This has nothing to do with the welfare of farm workers or their pay, but rather the personal narrow interests of Ehrenreich and co. He has been given a mandate to get the Western Cape back under ANC rule no matter the cost. He couldn't give a damn about farmworkers.

      darryl.maze1 - 2012-11-28 09:03

      Its pathetic. Cosatu are insighting violence and then when the police start shooting rubber bullets and tear gas all you big leaders especially Tony run away and then cry about police brutality. if you want to strike violently then you will be dealt with violently.

  • CapeChappy - 2012-11-27 22:57

    Threatening violence is against the law and the constitution, WHY THE F**** ARE THESE COSATU MEMBERS NOT IN JAIL????

      CapeChappy - 2012-11-27 23:01

      Don't get me wrong, I think it's disgusting to pay someone R69 for a day of labor and it needs to change, but threatening violent strikes when they are the instigators is unacceptable.

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-11-28 09:05

      Kagiso - you obviously don't have a highly developed perceptive ability, and struggle with following logical chains or paths of progression. You also, clearly, do not grasp the concept of cause and effect and the dynamics surrounding this 'hocus pocus' phenomenon ; we understand though... its not your fault. You're just a product of apartheid, which as we know, lasted a few years shy of half a century, and thus, using these high order cognitive functions, can expect the effect to wear off in roughly as much time (give or take...), meaning you'll probably be dead, by the time you have the faculties to operate heavy machinery or look after children. But, I digress, my next post will help you fast track the piecing together of this Farm Strikes Rubix Cube, and what is actually being inferred in in the article (you can then spend the years potentially lost trying to piece it altogether yourself, on something nice, like toyi toying or breaking stuff). Ready? Here we go -->

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-11-28 09:26

      Side Note, Kagiso: don't let the clever kids bully you or call you names like 'idiot', 'dimwit', 'fool', 'numbskull', 'tony enrinreich', 'amoeba', 'imbecile', 'half-wit', 'twit', 'moron', 'simpleton', 'fathead', etc. these are enormously high order cognitive functions...stratospheric! and apartheid has only been dead for two decades, we still have some way to go... ok, on with the lesson --> First, let me present you with a list of Synonyms (related words, similar meaning so on and so forth): infer; hint; deduce; suggest; influence; induce; instigate; incite; provoke; extort; orchestrate...with these words in mind, consider who the main instigator in this saga is and which organisation has strong influence over the workers, and which organisation gains the most from these strikes; then consider this organisations track record with respect to strikes and violence...go slowly now, don't want you to hurt yourself...ok, still with us? now look at the list of words in the beginning of this post...and mix it all together with a dash of 'read between the lines', sprinkle over with a 'thinly veiled threat', and what do you get?...the lights going on?...not yet?...give it some time to settle...let the the custard drain out via your ears, shake the rocks around a little (careful, don't fall over), dust out the cobwebs...remember that brain has't worked in some time, so the cogs may be a little rusty... good luck, God speed, hope you don't electrocute yourself operating your computer

  • Danie Gerber - 2012-11-27 23:23

    Well if they want to threaten with violence then the farmers must fight fire with fire and nobody must complain if this is going to be a 2nd Marikana. Its about time someone must stand up against these idiots from Cosatu.

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-11-28 09:35

      kagiso, kagiso...eish really are struggling today, buddy...let me try help you out here again, so you can get back to your streetwise five... No, violence is not the answer, that's exactly the point. why must tony incite violence to achieve the narrow goals of his divisive agenda? however, if that's the game he wants to play then he should not be surprised if people defend themselves by similar means. violence only begets more violence, comrade (remember the lesson from my earlier post...cause and effect??)

  • Danie Gerber - 2012-11-27 23:27

    What people dont realise is that yes the labourers is getting paid R69 per day but they stay for free, get free meals and they get transported from their homes to the workplace and back for free. Count that with their wages they get paid per day and then all of a sudden it doesnt look that bad anymore. Stop complaining all u idiots, bve thankful u have a job. Ungrateful bastards.

  • klebepe - 2012-11-27 23:30

    If COSATU has been doing its job we wouldn't be having people working under such terrible conditions 18 years into democracy. Besides crippling strikes, what has COSATU achivied since 1994?

      Sally Lewitt - 2012-11-27 23:44

      achieved fat bank balances..!

      wwrer.ww - 2012-11-28 00:04

      Destroyed the educational system. Big fat teachers bearing their breasts for everyone, dancing and screaming hysterically. The best paid teachers in the developing world, their salaries on par with teachers in France. Fat and ugly, dancing, their boobs jumping up and down, screaming hysterically, totally ignoring the children's education, striking 6x more than teachers in other countries. Not even checking if the children have textbooks. Education have gone from the best in Africa to #146 out of #150 according to the UN.

  • EricksonTL - 2012-11-28 00:00

    Soooo... they're pissed at our government, and they're burning private property? Terrorists, hooligans, CRIMINALS!

  • hitting.thefan - 2012-11-28 00:12

    These are the leaders who speak for our people. Instead of eduacating the masses as to our constitution they are actually doing the threatening. So what do expect that people will act otherwise. @Tony Ehrenreich oyu are in thug in union clothing, what you are doing is the same as extortian!

  • Francois - 2012-11-28 00:20

    Tony Ehrenreich is gif

  • Gorden Norman - 2012-11-28 00:51

    Burn and plunder COSATU offices they have failed the workers again

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-11-28 01:00

    Inform the farmers that it is time to arm for war.

  • Charles Frederik Robberts - 2012-11-28 01:46

    We are ready and waiting! Bring it on!

  • joubert.joep - 2012-11-28 03:18

    What a white elephant?

  • fanie.essgee - 2012-11-28 03:30

    It seems this barbarians are hell bent on total destruction, our country is managed by fools unable to understand what they are allowing to be destroyed, we were something to be reconed with in most fields, now we are laughed at, it is such a shame.

  • fanie.essgee - 2012-11-28 03:31


      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-11-28 09:44

      kagiso, howzit bru? Everyone hopes the workers get a decent wage, but the comment is not about the workers as much as it is about the divisive hate monger tony erenreich, and the way he incites the workers to resort to violence as an early measure ( fact a measure at all), in the process of seeking a favorable outcome, with absolutely no regard for the long term effects (or short term destruction, injuries and death) which will come back to bite not only you and me, but the govt., the farmer (and while there are some unethical ones there are way more that are very good, fair people who add a lot to the economy and their communities), and saddest of all, the very worker he purports to care for...shoh! cause and effect lesson is yielding dividends hey!?

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-28 04:41

    "Oliphant sounds more like a minister of farmers than like a minister of labour". Vavi, what are you talking about? We have almost no minister who are on the side of the employers. They are all on the side of the voters! Even if it means to bankrupt the employer. Show me the minister that understand the economy is maintained by employers, and I will show you a union leader, or union member for that matter, that can count to ten without using his fingers.

  • matshane.seleko - 2012-11-28 06:02

    Just a simple question:When will peope stop using violence as a tool for negotiation?Are we so prepared to ruin our country by using all kinds of weapons,including senseless destruction of property,to negotiate our differences(even to score political points),rather than talk and apply our minds in a proper manner?

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-28 06:38

    Loodpil vir Tony en Marius!

  • lovenergy - 2012-11-28 07:10

    Was that a threat Vavi? I agree that their current wage is too low, none of us could support a family on such a small salary but the violence that is used is unacceptable and obviously stoked by the Communists as Vavi has proven with his little under hand threats in this article. Politians in SA are playing a very dangerous game and we as the people of SA should stop being their pawns

  • francois.dutoit.167 - 2012-11-28 07:26

    If this is not seen as the highest level of intimidation of the South African Public, what is? Who has the responsibility/clout to lay a criminal charge against such people?

  • naegeli1 - 2012-11-28 07:28

    Mr. Ehrenreich and and his gang are terrorists, it's all about power and money for them. The farm workers and the miners are just extras in their game for power. Treat this guys as terrorists , they are dividing the country creating damage and bloodshed !

  • renard.souza - 2012-11-28 07:31

    Cosatu threatens violence or invites violence. Thugs!

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2012-11-28 08:03

    The tail trys to wag the dog? Erenrich knows very well how sectorial labour works, the time it takes and also there is a legal framework for the timing which the labour minister has laid out. erenrich and his lot set the deadline and now they must take the blame and or control their lot.

  • brasteve.myaluze - 2012-11-28 08:22

    Sounds like a threat to me. When police return fire with fire, we will hear some sob sorry about ''defenceless, innocent, harmless and unarmed workers whose only sins was to ask for what they deserved''

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-11-28 08:49

    Yes ehrenreich and vavi, you like blood on your hands. The wheel will turn for you someday and you will feel the pain, heat, anger and so much more. I just hope that your children will not suffer the same fate of what you are doing as your children will reap what you are currently sowing.

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-11-28 08:59

    Why do these strike have to be violent TONY???? Just shows you have nothing upstairs. Why go out and destroy stuff????? Destroying stuff= money being spent to fix= not enough money for workers= workers loosing jobs. It is your ANC government messing around, how's about you go to there big fancy houses, especially yours and Zuma's mansion and go destroy that if u want government to sort out these wages.

  • pieter.pretorius.106 - 2012-11-28 09:41

    So Cosatu acknowledge that they organize violent strikes and that they promote violence among their members. I hope they will be hold accountable for all damages that may occur.

  • - 2012-11-28 10:47

    With all this hate and violence against farmers, if I was one, I'd probably sell up. I think the sooner our farmers decide to do this the better. Sell it all to the guvemant and let them sell/give the land to the ancyl since they want it so badly. Then in 5-10yrs time they can pay exorbitant amounts for farmers from overseas to come and fix the crap they have created. Or sell them to the Chinese who will treat the farmworkers so much better...

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-11-28 11:49

    Ehrenreich uses the words 'low intensity civil war' in this reported threat. Surely that's an indication that he intends to plunge the entire country into this violence and intends to destroy the farming community in its entirety? Shouldn't the man be arrested for inciting violence against the People's Republic of South Africa?

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-11-28 14:40

    Threatening 'civil war' against farmers - the group of people most targetted by the most horrendous tortures and hate-crime murders - is so irresponsible that Ehrenreich could conceivably be held responsible for any violence and deaths on any farms from December 4 2012. An average of one Afrikaner is murdered/attacked each day - often tortured to death - in rural areas since January 2012, after Jacob Zuma sang his 'Kill the Boer' song at the Bloemfontein ANC100 anniversary celebrations. The organisation in the USA has already placed the Afrikaner farmers at the Penultimate level six of Genocide before an all-out genocide takes place. Ehrenreich's irresponsible 'civil-war' threats could be the final straw which will light the fire of all-out genocide in South Africa. Isn't it time that South Africa's leaders stop their inciting hatespeech statements, from Zuma to Ehrenreich on down? Do they REALLY want to plunge the country into genocide?

  • carinamare - 2012-11-28 22:20

    Why is Nobody in goverment doing anything to prevent this? Doesn't freedom of speech have limits or does that only count for certain people? Where is the President of this country or is he only concerned about the wellbeing of a certain group of South-Africans? I am no lawyer but common sense tells me that these threats of war MUST be against at least one law in this country. You CANNOT burn down your workplace or kill your employer because then you won't have ANY income. What is so difficult to understand? If your working conditions are appalling then you report it to the Department of Labour since not ALL farmers treat their people as dirt. The majority of farmworkers live in MUCH better conditions than the majority of township dwellers. What will follow? Will ALL people living in better conditions than your own be targets? All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is when Good men do nothing. Cosatu Cannot expect farmers to sit back and do nothing while their property and families are threatened. But then again, maybe that is exactly what they want...

  • ferreira.piet - 2012-11-29 19:53


  • pages:
  • 1