Monday, 17 July 2006

Farm killings prompt union to go on strike

July 17 2006 at 07:03AM

Trade union Solidarity is planning to embark on a one-day strike against farm murders, the union's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said on Sunday.

He said the union was planning on calling on all of its members and the community at large to support the trade union's campaign.

The union's planned campaign was sparked by the murder of Frans Pieterse, a Solidarity member, at his smallholding outside Swartruggens, North West, last week.

"We cannot sit by and do nothing when one of our members is put to death in such a savage manner," Hermann said in a statement.

"We are consulting with our members at the mine where Mr Pieterse had been employed to discuss the possibility of a one-day strike in sympathy with the deceased's family and in protest against violent crime," he said.

Pieterse was tortured for more than four hours, with his attackers using boiling water to burn him, cut open his head and strangled him with a shoelace, Hermann said.

He said the alleged killers also melted plastic and dripped it on Pieterse's son, Gideon.

The murder took place in full view of Daleen, Pieterse's wife, Gideon, 10, and Pieterse's other child, Anuscka, 3.

Pieterse worked on the Helam diamond mine.

Hermann's said Solidarity's civil rights initiative, AfriForum, has asked all role players in the agricultural industry to launch the joint campaign.

"Solidarity has also begun with the compilation of a report on farm murders, for distribution locally and internationally.

"A website to mobilise protest against farm murders is also envisaged.

"We are planning one of the largest civil campaigns ever seen in South Africa. Our duty is to place this issue on the government's highest priority list.

"It would unfortunately appear that government will not act decisively once farm and smallholding killings become a political liability.

"We are compelled, therefore, to make it a political liability right now," he said. - Sapa


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