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Civil rights organisation, AfriForum, will investigate the possible prosecution of political figures and trade union leaders after the recent riots in the Western Cape in which damage worth millions of rand was caused to farms and businesses. This follows after AfriForum appointed a task team to determine if motives, other than wage disputes led to the riots and if so, if persons and organisations could be held legally accountable. The findings of a report drafted by the task team have just been released.
The findings include, among other things, the following:
1. It has been confirmed that only a minority of permanent farm farmers were involved in the riots;
2. Leaders who organised the riots in the towns, have strong connections to the ANC;
3. Farmers who already pay more than the minimum salary and who walk the extra mile in treating their workers well, were also targeted;
4. National government did not give any support to the provincial government.
Many of the more seriously hit towns were visited and farmers, workers, police officials and other members of the respective communities were interviewed. A summary of the interviews as well as the task team’s findings and recommendations are included in the report.
According to AfriForum’s Head of Community Affairs, Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg, the events in the Western Cape were not solely spurred by labour disputes.
“The targeting of Western Cape farmers can be looked at against the background of a continued attack against private land ownership and the objectives of the Green Paper on Land Reform,” Jansen van Rensburg said.
The task team recommended that the possibility of laying criminal and possible civil charges against, among others, Marius Fransman, Deputy Minister and ANC leader in the Western Cape and Nosey Pieterse, president of the Building Allied Workers Union of SA (Bawusa) and the Black Association of the Wine and Spirits Industry (Bawsi) be investigated, and that criminal charges be laid against local leaders who were responsible for the illegal gatherings and the consequential damages.
‘Farmers and business owners who suffered damages should seriously consider laying claims for damages against organisations such as Cosatu, Bawusa, Bawsi, and against Fransman and Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu leader in the Western Cape in their personal capacity,’ Pieter Rautenbach, AfriForum’s Head of Local Government Affairs says.
· Find the complete report compiled by AfriForum’s task team attached.