Thomas Walters MPL
DA Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman
The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng notes with extreme concern recent reports of the injury and intimidation of an elderly farmworker near Tarlton in Krugersdorp. This alleged incident is not only terrible in terms of the reported impact on a vulnerable elderly lady, but also in the way that it vividly creates another damaging image in the narrative of relations between farmers and their workers.
According to a report in The New Age, Mrs Thoko Nkomondo, 65, was run over by a quad bike (breaking her leg in several places) threatened with a firearm by her employer, and instructed to leave the farm. It was further reported that she had left her home and moved to a nearby informal settlement. She had lived on the farm for four decades and her late husband is buried there. Police are investigating a charge of negligent driving against the employer.
While we do not seek to prejudge the issue, and respect the need for the law to run its course, we condemn the reported conduct of the farmer and call on all farmers to join us in this condemnation.
If the account of this reckless, abusive and callous behaviour turns out to be true, we call for the stiffest sanctions possible. These may include intimidation, pointing a firearm and illegal eviction.
Such actions gave no place in a law-based democracy and justice must visibly and fairly be done. Incidents like this undermine our legal order, poison inter-communal relationships and lock farming communities into a siege of suspicion, rather than a positive march into the future. It provides ammunition for those who wish to stir up animosity between farmers and farmworkers. Neither farmers nor farm-workers can afford this type of incident. Least of all can those of us that rely on a thriving, harmonious farming community for our food, drink and clothing afford this!