Paul Willemburg MPL
DA Shadow MEC of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation
This week I met with senior representatives from the South African Grooms Association.
They approached the DA for help after their shocking living conditions at the Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg were recently exposed in the media.
The grooms confirmed that at least 480 people share two toilets at the racecourse, that at up to fifteen of them share a small dorm with no beds and that many become fatally sick due to unhygienic conditions.
Similar conditions are experienced by grooms at other racecourses in Gauteng and across South Africa.
Despite approaching the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last September to have their association officially recognised, the department has failed to help them. A facilitator has been assigned to their case but they have received no feedback for over a year.
This while many other players in the horseracing industry, such as trainers and jockeys, all have officially recognised associations.
I will be liaising with my colleagues in the National Assembly to request that the DTI urgently reviews this case and reports back to the grooms immediately.
I will also be posing questions to the Gauteng Provincial Gambling Board to establish:
- How much money has been given to Phumelela Gaming and Leisure LTD which manages Turffontein racecourse and is ultimately responsible for the grooms’ accommodation and living quarters
- How this total is allocated and how much specifically goes towards to the grooms well-being
The DA believes that the living conditions of the grooms at Turffontein Racecourse are absolutely inhumane and has already reported this to the Human Rights Commission for investigation.
We will continue to fight for better conditions at this and other racecourses until the grooms are able to live and work with the dignity that they deserve.