Responding to a supplementary question from ANC MP Olifile Sefako in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, the Deputy President said the brandishing of the flag that represents a painful apartheid past should not happen in democratic South Africa.

On Monday, Western Cape farmers staged a protest under the banner #BlackMonday against farm murders. During the march, where farmers blocked the freeway with their cars and tractors, farmers were seen hoisting the old apartheid flag, while some were filmed burning the current flag.

The Deputy President said government strongly condemns farm killings that continue to take place in the country “because we can never justify any form of taking of life of anyone”. However, the hoisting of the old flag needs to be equally condemned.”

“The farm killings must be brought to an end but I want to… condemn those who participated in the march, where they flung out the old South African flag… They just damaged their own cause because by hoisting the old South African flag, they clearly demonstrated… that they still hanker for the old days of apartheid and they are still trapped by the racist past that we thought we had moved away from. That does not do well for their cause and that should be condemned in every respect.”

“Anybody who still hoists a flag that is representative of a terrible crime that was committed against our people, what the world called a crime against humanity, should be condemned very strongly and I am hoping that that flag will never be flown in South Africa again…”

Rights of farmworkers a priority for government

The Deputy President said, meanwhile, that the rights of farmworkers, who are often the most vulnerable and are always at the behest of farmers, are a priority for government.

MP Sefako had asked whether government would intensify the implementation of the Labour Tenant Act to protect farmworkers from unfair evictions and abuse.

The Deputy President said a lot needs to be done not only to address the implementation of the Labour Tenant Act and other pieces of legislation, but to secure the rights of farmworkers, some of whom are killed, some of whom are put into coffins, some of whom are assaulted. They have rights that need to be upheld. They have rights that need to be protected.

“Government has always sought to protect farmworkers and we need to do much more to do precisely that. Many of our farmworkers are still subjected to evictions from farms where they have lived and worked for all of their lives and that clearly must come to a stop. We need to stop that because that is a violation of their rights… The rights that farmworkers have cannot be the types of rights that violate the basic human rights of farmworkers.”

First published here –