Minister Didiza visits families after farm workers die in tragic Villiersdorp accident
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Cape Town - Agriculture, land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza and Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha visited the families of the two Villiersdorp farmworkers who died in a tragic accident on the R321 near Theewaterskloof Dam on Tuesday morning.
The accident also claimed the lives of three other people and left four others seriously injured. It occurred when an SUV, while attempting to overtake another car, crashed into a trailer-bus carrying 57 farmworkers who were on their way to work.
Ministers Didiza and Skwatsha, accompanied by officials from the provincial department, visited the homes of the Dlamini and Mbathane families who lost their family members in the accident to offer their condolences before proceeding to the scene of the accident.
“As the government, we continue to work on improving legislation in terms of the transportation of farm workers. Although in this case the mode of transport was not an issue, as it was an appropriate mode of transport, we encourage all farm owners to improve on how they transport their workers. Officials from the provincial department together with local counsellors will continue to offer assistance to the bereaved families and injured farmworkers.”
Speaking on the visit to the bereaved families, Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation executive director Billy Claasen said: “This is a sad situation. To know that it could have been avoided if that SUV had not tried to overtake another car. These families are now going through a lot, and that’s terrible.
“The truck driver who was carrying farm workers is truly a hero for what he did. He saved the lives of many. This accident, however, brings back the spotlight on farmworkers’ transport. While this farm was using an appropriate vehicle, some others are still not, and that’s a big issue because then they are placing the lives of many people in danger,” said Claasen.
“The transportation of farmworkers along with other pressing issues is something we need to holistically look at and resolve urgently. This is why we asked for a meeting with the ministers in the weeks to come, where will sit together with NGO’s and labour unions.”