Community members of Stofland informal settlement in De Doorns, raising their concerns around the current state of xenophobic tension and workers rights abuse in the Cape winelands.
A ‘safe dialogue space’ was created for participants to share their concerns, such as the grievance raised by South African participants that foriegn national farm workers never join South African farm workers in taking strike action. This is a contentious matter within the community. Within this setting, the Zimbabwean and Sotho farm workers present were able to explain to the South African participants that this is not due to a lack of solidarity, but rather the fact that South African workers are protected by labour rights when taking legal strike action, while undocumented foreign national workers risk deportation if they participate.
Bram Hanekom, director of PASSOP*, discussing the need for all foreign nationals to be legally documented in order to work in South Africa, and that this process must be carried out through Home Affairs. Bram was addressing this issue in response to a concern raised by a Zimbabwean lady in the meeting, that of a local group of men reported to be selling false work permits.
*PASSOP is a refugee rights organisation, that offer free paralegal advice and assistance with the Home Affairs application process for refugee and asylum seeker documentation. For more info go to: http://www.passop.co.za/