Lutzville farmworker Johannes Baadjies was assaulted and then allegedly offered R400 to drop the case.

Cape Town - His red, swollen eyes, bruised cheeks and battered body tell the story of a brutal assault during which he was allegedly defenceless.

After being assaulted, farmworker Johannes Baadjies, 47, was allegedly paid R400 to not tell the truth behind his scars.

But even though he feared for his life, Baadjies’s colleagues decided to be proactive in attempting to ensure justice. Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation chairperson Billy Classen received a call at the weekend from a concerned farmworker requesting him to do something to help.

Hours later an assault case was opened at the Lutzville police station and a man is expected to appear in court on Monday for the attack on Baadjies.

Baadjies sustained a concussion and a fractured jaw when he was assaulted last week. He also lost several teeth.

“He did go to the police station last week, but was asked to return at a later stage. The farmer gave him R400 not to go on with the case. This is not unique and it’s happening to our farmworkers all the time. I have asked so many times that government do something to intervene or our people will continue to be abused and killed,” Classen said.

Baadjies was at Vredendal Hospital for a check-up on Sunday and received treatment for his injuries.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said a case of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened at the weekend. “The investigation continues.”

Meanwhile, Martin Visser, 42, who has been charged with murder and assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm over the death of farmworker Adam Pieterse, 32, is expected back in court on Monday. Pieterse’s decomposing remains were found in Lutzville 18 months ago.

Pieterse and Visser knew each other, and Pieterse once laid a case of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm against the accused, but withdrew it.

Earlier this year, the Department of Labour announced the daily wage for a farmworker working nine hours a day will be R128.26, up from R120.32.

The hourly rate of R13.37 increased to R14.25, the weekly rate of R601.61 rose to R641.32 and the monthly rate of R2 606.78 increased to R2 778.83.

Unions criticised the increases and said a loaf of bread costs more than the increase in the daily rate.

Cape Times