Farm Worker Accident Puts Labour Transport Regulations Under Spotlight

Mark Steele, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Agriculture

THE Democratic Alliance has today submitted parliamentary questions to KZN Agriculture MEC, Meshack Radebe concerning the enforcement of regulations pertaining to the safe transportation of farm workers. This after 50 farm workers were injured yesterday when the truck they were travelling in overturned on a plantation road near Richmond yesterday, leaving many with minor injuries and some with potentially serious neck and back injuries.

Farm workers are a particularly vulnerable group who are not always familiar with regulations governing the conditions of their employment. They need the protection of state agencies to ensure that their employers comply with the necessary safety regulations when they are being transported, not least that the vehicle and driver have been checked for compliance and are certified as safe to transport passengers. That such a large number of workers were involved suggests that this incident must be carefully investigated by the responsible authorities and that more stringent measures may have to be put in place in KwaZulu-Natal to protect workers, who currently have no choice but to accept the transport that is provided for them by their employers.

The Democratic Alliance has submitted the following questions to the MEC;

– Has the KZN Department of Agriculture sent officials to investigate the circumstances of the accident?

– What were the findings of such an investigation?

– Does the Department enforce any regulations relating to safety inspections of vehicles and drivers used to transport farm workers, and if not, why not?

– What actions will the Department now take to address any deficiencies in the exercise of care by employers when transporting farm workers?

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