Sowetan: Union warns that farmworkers could lose their jobs after floods

Union warns that farmworkers could lose their jobs after floods

THE Food and Allied Workers’ Union has said farmworkers were likely to lose their jobs following the recent floods that left a number of farms across the country under water.

The government declared a state of emergency in eight provinces after this month’s floods killed 100 people, and wiped out many crops.

Now Fawu spokesperson Dominique Swartz has said farmworkers who work for small-scale farmers would be the losers.

She called on the government to help emerging and commercial farmers, saying that food security could be affected if the farmers did not manage to plant new crops soon.

She said the union suspected that farmworkers might lose their jobs, and the number of small-scale farms would dwindle if the government did not give the crisis its priority attention.

Yesterday Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini abruptly cancelled a press conference on the floods, which was scheduled for the Union Buildings.

Dlamini had promised to give an update on the government’s and other humanitarian assistance to individuals and households affected by the floods.

Meanwhile, the city of Cape Town said it was prepared for the severe flooding that is expected there from May onwards.

“The city’s disaster risk management centre will implement its winter flooding plan as per usual this year,” said Greg Pillay, manager of disaster risk management.

Pillay said that because of the city’s efforts only 9100 people had been affected by floods last year – an improvement from the 11500 affected in 2009.

But Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape president Mzonke Poni accused Pillay of lying.

“They think poor people are stupid because we are living in flood-prone areas,” said Poni.

“It is appalling. The situation remains the same every winter.

“They only supply people with blankets and put them in community halls. They need to build proper houses,” he said.