Media: South African wine industry rooted in human misery, says report

23 08 2011
in Johannesburg
The Guardian, Tuesday 23 August 2011
Unsuitable housing, pesticide dangers and barriers to union membership catalogued by Human Rights Watch monitors
South African vineyard worker
Just 3% of workers in the Western Cape agricultural sector have union representation. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

There is no question of its flair for producing a world-class chenin blanc, cabernet sauvignon or pinotage at an affordable price. But the provenance of South Africa‘s wines is altogether less savoury, an investigation by human rights monitors has revealed.

Workers on the country’s wine and fruit farms lead “dismal, dangerous lives,” according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which found on-site housing unfit for habitation, exposure to pesticides without proper safety equipment, lack of access to toilets or drinking water while working and barriers to union representation.

Farm workers contribute millions to South Africa‘s economy, with products that are sold in Tesco and other British supermarkets, yet they are among the lowest wage earners in the country, the group’s report says. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Zim refugees take to streets

13 03 2010

2010-03-13 05:31:26 – Voice of the Cape

“We demand compensation for Zimbabwean refugees who were deprived of property. Detained trade union leaders must be released immediately. We demand a speedy land reform process.” These were some of the posters seen on the streets of Cape Town on Friday afternoon as about 30 women from the trade union Sikhula Sonke took to the streets in solidarity with the Zimbabwean refugees who where displaced in De Doorns late last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Sikhula Sonke’s Motion of Distrust Against the ANC and Government

12 03 2010

11 Mar 2010

Motion of distrust against the ANC will be put to the United Nations Commission and Minister of International Affairs on refugee rights for the situation in De Doorns and Government and the African Union’s lack of intervention in the torture of our Zimbabwe brothers and sisters and trade union leaders in Zimbabwe. Read the rest of this entry »

Sikhula Sonke appalled by local ANC members in De Doorns call for a march to the refugee camp

23 02 2010

21 February 2010

Sikhula Sonke has been shocked when we, while busy setting up to stay in Stofland for the evening heard local ANC members who went around with a bakkie and loud hailer instigating residents of Stofland to march to the refugee camp on Tuesday 23 February where Zimbabweans will be asked to leave the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: ANC denies knowledge of proposed march

22 02 2010

22 February 2010 – EWN

De Doorns police said on Monday they had not received any requests from the ANC in the region to stage a protest march.

It is understood the party was planning a march to a safety site for foreigners in the town. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: 1m farm workers evicted in 10 yrs

18 02 2010

2010-02-18 05:51:28 – VOC

“Farm workers earn the least in wages. It is about R1,231 before deductions. They feed the country, but can not even afford to feed themselves. Farmers should pay living wages to their workers.” That was the word from Wendy Pekeur, spokesperson for Sikhula Sonke, an organisation that represents the interests of farm labourers. She added that over the last 10 years, an alarming one million farm workers had been evicted by the farm owners. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: 14 year old boy missing after attacks by 3 farmers 11 February 2010

14 02 2010
12 February 2010
Sikhula Sonke Farmworkers Union

Eon Fortuin, the 14 year old boy who was attacked by three farmers has disappeared. The boy was taken to the police station on Tuesday 9 February; he appeared in Court the same day and according to Mr Blacky Swarts a captain at the Robertson police station told us that he was taken to the boy school in Ottery on Wednesday. Sikhula Sonke contacted the social worker at the school; who told us she heard that the boy was there, but that he disappeared on Wednesday 10 February. We believe that the boy was traumatised, by the ordeal, taken out of bed while sleeping, beaten till he was bleeding, tied like a dog and then he had to spend a night in jail and has appeared in Court without support from any family member. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Women Want Land to Call Their Own

10 08 2009

By Davison Makanga – IPS News

CAPE TOWN, Aug 10 (IPS) – In 1956, twenty thousand women marched to parliament to protest discriminatory pass laws. The march, commemorated as Women’s Day in South Africa on Aug. 9 each year, has become iconic of women’s quest for equality.

A democratic constitution has replaced apartheid laws, but the reality on the ground suggests freedom and equality for all has not yet been attained.

Fifteen years after apartheid was replaced by non-racial democracy, South African farm workers say they still face discrimination. The final week of July saw a coordinated series of protests by farm workers in the Western Cape against poor working conditions, retrenchments and evictions. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Govender calls for dialogue on plight of farmworkers

2 08 2009

July 30, 2009 Edition 1
Francis Hweshe – Cape Argus

URGENT dialogue is needed between the government, business, Cosatu and trade union Sikhula Sonke to address the plight of farmworkers, the SA Human Rights Commissioner has said. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Workers on Hydro Wine Estate forced to leave farm in 10 days

30 07 2009

Note by AEC: Members of the Anti-Eviction Campaign joined Sikhula Sonke today in their picket of Stellenbosch wine farms that have been treating their workers badly.  We were very horrified by the stories we heard.  The AEC is in full solidarity with the farmworkers and support’s Sikhula Sonke’s action to prevent the continued eviction of farm workers especially when they are bribed to leave their homes.

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 July 2009
Farm workers on Hydro forced to leave farm before or on 8 August 2009
Sikhula Sonke members embark on a stay over at Hydro Wine Estate and Spa, Thursday 30 July 09.

Workers on Hydro were offered R50 000 to leave the farm before the 8th of August 2009. Workers are living in the most appalling conditions and Hydro Management refuse to do something about it. They want people to leave the farm to upgrade the farm houses for tourist accommodation. Read the rest of this entry »


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