Cape Town - Eighty farmworkers were left injured after a truck they were travelling in overturned on the R44 off-ramp just before Durbanville.
Western Cape Health’s Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Deanna Bessick said the provincial EMS had responded to the incident just before 7am yesterday.
“A call for assistance came through to the EMS Communications Centre at 06:52 am on Wednesday morning. According to information we received a truck had overturned just before the Durbanville off-ramp, in the direction of Wellington.”
“The vehicle was transporting 80 farmworkers. Two of the farmworkers were seriously injured, while 27 sustained moderate to serious injuries and 51 sustained minor injuries.”
Two rescue vehicles were dispatched to the scene as well as 12 ambulances.
This incident comes after one farmworker was killed and 14 others left injured in a crash 21 days ago.
Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, executive director Billy Claasen said that the accident had confirmed what the organisation has been saying about the conditions farmworkers are living and working under.
“This accident confirms what we have been saying. We have always maintained that farmworkers are the poorest, most marginalised and at-risk workers, labouring under atrocious working and living conditions.
“We have pleaded for years with the president to address the situation of farmworkers, but it seems that farmworkers are not on his agenda. We as NGOs, unions and farmworker leaders need to put our heads together and decide on what we are going to do. We appeal to the president and the ministers of labour and agriculture to put a stop to this inhumane transportation of farmworkers on open trucks and bakkies,” said Claasen.
Agri Western Cape CEO Jannie Strydom said: “The health and safety of our farmworkers remains our priority and we call on everyone transporting farmworkers to make sure they abide by the law and ensure the safety of farmworkers at all time. We wish all the injured farmworkers a speedy and full recovery.”