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Cape Town -
Apartheid still reigned in the Cape farmlands, provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman told farmworkers at a rally near De Doorns on Monday.
Land reform was the hot topic in his address to the farming community of Orchard.
Fransman was drumming up support for the ANC in what was his 16th stop on a West Coast electioneering tour.
The wineland district of De Doorns erupted in violence in late 2012, with wildcat strikes for better wages and working conditions.
Despite a rise in the minimum wage and no further strikes, it was to the same issues that Fransman appealed.
“Twenty years into democracy, land still belongs to those who oppressed us,” he said.
“What justice is there when we must pay millions for farms that were stolen from us?”
Musical boy wonder Daniel Petersen, 11, helped to entertain the small crowd with a performance on the drums.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the ANC,” he said, telling children in the audience not to give up on their dreams.
Fransman also spoke of continuing assaults, evictions and wage struggles facing farmworkers.
“Too many farmers are not paying minimum wage,” Fransman said.
“Instead, they are deducting money for water, electricity, farm shop purchases.
“When the ANC comes to power in the province, guilty farmers will pay.”
He lashed out at the DA, accusing the party of siding with farm owners instead of workers. “Why do farmers give so much money to the DA? Because they want to keep apartheid in the Western Cape.”
However, DA provincial media manager Liza Albrecht said the party’s policies in the Western Cape had served only to help farmworkers by creating more jobs in every sector.
“Marius Fransman and the ANC know they can’t win the debate on creating more jobs, so they are talking this nonsense to try and divide people against each other,” Albrecht said. “Zuma’s ANC doesn’t care about the farmworkers, they only care about enriching themselves.”
But two farmworkers the Cape Argus spoke to agreed that farm work was like living under apartheid. They have both been with their employers for 20 years.
One said there had been no physical attacks at his workplace, but verbal abuse was common. The other said he had to pay R140 for electricity every two weeks.
Both complained that heavy deductions decimated their wages, leaving them with no money for necessities.
Their solution was to have an equal share in the harvest or to have a section of the land that was theirs to work and profit from.