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National & Provincial
Nov 20 2012 8:03AM
 
Wage strikes are not about politics and race
LABOUR RELATIONS ISSUES: Farm workers continue to strike as wage negotiations between farmers and the workers continue. Picture: Gallo Images
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Warren Mabona

The ANC yesterday called on the Agricultural Union TAU SA to stay away from the governing party matters and focus on its issues after the union criticised the organisation for destabilising the Western Cape through the farm workers’ strikes.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza told The New Age that the strikes were a labour dispute over wage negotiations. He said the ANC was a defender of democracy.

“The ANC is not a trade union and if they (TAU SA) have issues, they must deal with them and leave the ANC alone. Our view is that what is happening now on farms and mines are labour relations issues.

“They have nothing to do with race relations and politics. Even when Marikana workers went on strike, it was about them and the wages, not race and politics,” Khoza said.

TAU SA president Louis Meintjes yesterday told The New Age that the ANC Western Cape provincial chairperson Marius Fransman said the party would make the province ungovernable.

He said the ANC did not challenge what he described as hateful and malicious statements made by Fransman against the farmers in the province.

“Fransman said they would make the province ungovernable and that is what is happening there now. We don’t want to get involved in politics but the ANC must resolve its problems with the DA in the province,” Meintjes said.

“The Western Cape is run by the DA and despite unabated ANC pronouncements about the new democratic order under their stewardship, they cannot abide the opposition.

“They do not understand democracy and they came to power through the barrel of a gun.

“Acts of intimidation, murder and violence were always their hallmarks and their surrogates are now using the same tools to create mayhem in the Western Cape’s agricultural industry,” Meintjes said.

Khoza dismissed Meintjes’s claims that the ANC was always paying lip service to Fransman’s statements.

“I’m not even aware of Fransman’s statements and I know that some people say we always watch him. But we are not doing that.”

Fransman could not be reached for comment.

The war of words between the two parties broke out less than a month after the ANC, TAU SA, AfriForum and Julius Malema reached a settlement over the “Shoot the Boer” song.

The ANC and the two groups also agreed to continue the dialogue in order to iron out several other differences that were seen to be dividing South Africans along racial lines.

warren@thenewage.co.za

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