Some of the country’s most horrendous farm murders are being committed by exploited farm labourers, according to deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.
While condemning the behaviour of the community of De Doorns in the Western Cape – who attacked foreigners – as “acts of immorality and criminality”, Mr Motlanthe was also critical of farmers on Friday.
“The unsavoury events that occurred in the Western Cape in De Doorns about two weeks back cast a dark stain on our moral fibre.
“As Government, we frown upon such acts and take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to upholding and respecting the rights of every person living within the borders of our beautiful country.”
But Mr Motlanthe also said that exploitation of foreigners by farmers led to attacks on farmers.
“Some of the most brutal farm murders are committed by foreign nationals, who were brutally exploited and made to toil without any remuneration.
The day when they demand remuneration, they are reported (by farmers) to the law enforcement units and are duly arrested and are sent back to their countries of origin.
“Of course, they come back and they go back and commit the most horrendous murders. This is why we need to condemn those who take advantage of foreign nationals in this fashion,” he said.
Mr Motlanthe was speaking at the national conference of the Moral Regeneration Movement in Boksburg.
The De Doorns attacks were triggered by complaints from locals that farmers were employing foreigners who accepted ridiculously low wages – leaving locals unemployed.
But Mr Motlanthe said that it was wrong for unscrupulous farmers to use foreigners as cheap labour.
“Similarly as we condemn what happened in De Doorns, we must equally condemn the tendency among some of the Hex River Valley farmers – and indeed any other employers in our country, be they black or white – who exploit foreign nationals by reducing them to cheap labour. I believe that nothing ever justifies the exploitation of a person for selfish financial ends. Business without morality is odious to the extreme, as indeed is any undertaking lacking in moral content,” said Mr Motlanthe.
Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba have recently also blamed farmers and labour brokers for the De Doorns attacks.
But the farmers rejected the claim, with the chairman of the Hex Table Grapes Association, De Villiers Graaff describing the allegations as “dangerous” and accused the Government of using farmers as “scapegoat”.
Meanwhile, Mr Motlanthe also appealed to the communities to respect and defend human rights.
Mr Motlanthe said that some service delivery protests were a consequence of “moral lapses” on the part of some public representatives and officials.
“However, the kind of violence that accompanies such protests also highlights the need to foster the culture of tolerance and harmony in our communities,” he said.
Source: www.pretorianews.co.za, 20091128
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