The EFF yesterday took to one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farms to demand the re-instatement of a group of workers fired in December for alleged theft.
Scores of EFF supporters and community members accompanied the six fired workers to Ramaphosa’s Ntaba Nyoni Estate in Badplaas, Mpumalanga, calling on the president to help them get their jobs back.
Ntaba Nyoni is one of the president’s several multi-million rand agricultural properties. It short to prominence in May last year when one of Ramaphosa’s rare Ankole bulls from the farm was sold for R640 000 at an auction.
Ramaphosa bought his initial herd of Ankole cattle from Ugandan president Yoweri Musuveni.
The six farm workers say they were fired in December just before Ramaphosa won the race to become ANC president, for allegedly stealing fertilisers. Yesterday they denied the theft claim and alleged that they were expelled before they could defend themselves.
The workers also accused farm manager Kobus Rall of racism, a claim Rall rejected.
One of the farmworkers, Lucas Ndzimande, pleaded with Ramaphosa to intervene.
“We know the president is a good man. We were fine here until this new manager came. He is a racist and does not give us food without shouting at us and calling us names.”
Ndzimande disputed they stole anything at the farm, claiming that they were only told not to return to work after being paid in December.
The EFF handed a memorandum of grievances to Rall on behalf of the farmworkers.
“The EFF is highly disappointed and disgusted by the conduct of the Ntaba Nyoni management and directors, who include the newly elected president of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa for the unfair dismissal of six workers on the farm,” EFF provincial chairman Collen Sedibe said.
“We are very disgusted because the president during his maiden Sona [State of the Nation Address] speech made mention that he will create more job opportunities for the people.
“But, it is the very same president who unfairly dismisses innocent black workers who have been working on the farm for more than seven years.”
The workers’ demands included that they be reinstated and paid a minimum wage of R4500.
Rall said they will to respond to the demands in seven days. He denied he was racist.
“If I was racist how would I be working for Mr Ramaphosa? And, in fact. I have been working with many races, mostly black, my whole life in the agriculture sphere”
Rall said the estate pays above minimum wage.
“Here we pay more than minimum wage, these employees are getting an average
of R6000 with two bonuses per year and overtime if they did work late.”
Ramaphosa’s office was not available for comment.