Hundreds of farm workers march in Rustenburg
About 500 members of the South African Communist Party (SACP), and farm workers marched through the streets of Rustenburg on Saturday, protesting against the state of clinics and hospitals, as well as living conditions on farms.
The march was part of the SACP’s Red October programme, which focused on public health institutions.
SACP chairperson Tlhabane Monini Dimakakaso said that during their visits to health institutions in Rustenburg, it was found that clinics and hospitals were unable to attend to patients on time.
He said patients arrived in the morning and were only attended to as clinics were about to close.
This resulted in many of them returning home without being treated.
He said that there were also limited nurses and doctors.
In the memorandum, addressed to the Provincial Health Department, the SACP demanded that clinics and hospitals be supplied with sufficient and relevant medication for all patients.
They also demanded that clinics be open 24-hours a day, to ensure that communities had unlimited access to health services—and that doctors should visit clinics seven days a week, compared to twice a week.
The department was given seven days to respond.
Accepting the memorandum, the Chief Director of Health in the Bojanala district, Mmule Rakau, said she would look into issues raised, and would respond accordingly.
The farm workers represented by the Food and Allied Workers’ Union, submitted three memorandums, addressed to the Department of Labour, Land Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Development, Trade and Industry, and the Transvaal Agricultural Union.
Farm workers said living conditions on farms had not improved in the past 14 years.
They demanded a negotiating platform, in order to reach an agreement on addressing the plight of farm workers.
They also called for a review of all farm evictions.
The workers also called for the creation of Reconstruction and Development Programme housing in villages.