Farmers force labor brokers to only hire foreign nationals, union says

Xolani Mgwalana of the Commerce, Stevedoring, Agriculture and Allied Workers’ Union (CSAAWU) said tensions between migrant workers from Lesotho and Zimbabwe were starting to ease.

Gift of the Givers has been busy delivering humanitarian aid to Robertson, saying anyone in need of help is welcome. Image: Provided

JOHANNESBURG – The Commerce, Stevedoring, Agriculture and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) said on Wednesday that while tensions in the Robertson in the Western Cape remain high, there has been a return back to normal with a few people returning to work.

Xolani Mgwalana from the union said: “There are people who have been left behind, many of them have been left behind, but in the afternoon people came back to work as usual. .”

He added that although the CSAAWU operates in the area, the union is sidelined in meetings between other labor brokers, farm workers, landlords and individuals who allegedly attack migrant workers. from Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

“We tried to intervene on this, but we did not get a response from the people involved, we are not involved in the meetings that are held,” he said.

Mgwalana believes exclusion allows farmers to take advantage of desperate workers. “We are aware of this situation, of this problem of worker exploitation. »

He added that farmers are pushing brokers to hire cheap foreign labor only in Zimbabwe.

“They say they shouldn’t hire South African nationals, they should just hire Zimbabwean nationals because it fits in with cheap labour.”

Nkqubela township in the Robertson area has been plagued by violent attacks from rival groups who go door to door to assault, rob and destroy homes.

The reason for the conflict between workers in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africans is the struggle for labor on the farms as harvest time approaches.

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