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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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  |  Memorandum

Memorandum on NW launch of 16 days of activism against violence on women and children

26 November 2013

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, its affiliates in the North West, the International Trade Union Confederation, together with the community of the North West are gathered here as progressive structures representing the interests of the people of the North West in support of women and children who are being abused killed and assaulted every minute of their life.

We are presenting this memorandum to you all with full of hope that all that we are raising in this memorandum will be addressed by yourselves.

We want to congratulate the police in the NW for the work that they have been doing recently. There is much improvement with the arrest of the killers of Pinky Mosiane and many others in the mines and we just hope that justice will be done.

We are here to display our anger and dissatisfaction at the manner in which the lives of women and children have been undermined by the hooligans who continue to terrorise them on a daily basis and want to take over our country in particular this province and this have been very prominent in the mines in the past year.

The women and children of this country, particularly in this province, continue to be abused, killed, marginalised treated as third-class citizens and subjected to substandard services which continue to degrade their lives while the men continue to be free and enjoy all the rights in the constitution.

The women and children in this province are subjected to horrendous living conditions, with the situation worse than in prison itself, or to put it in a better context, our people are already in hell before the judgement day arrives. The gender disparities which used to exist pre-apartheid and in the apartheid era are still there and continue to treat the women as if they are sub-human beings and third-class citizens of this country. Women still suffer the triple oppression of gender, inequality and class.

In the past year during the strikes in the mines women were stripped naked in front of men, raped and killed in the mines and this is still continuing to date. Women are raped and killed while they are doing their work in the mines underground.

We have now seen the increasing of women being assaulted by managers in the shops such as Choppies and the farms workers and their children continue receiving bad treatment from famers; the police including justice.

ILO Convention 182 states the following:

Article 2

For the purposes of this Convention, the term child shall apply to all persons under the age of 18.

Article 3

For the purposes of this Convention, the term the worst forms of child labour comprises:

  • (a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
  • (b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
  • (c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
  • (d) Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
  • Child labour is still high in our province in particular in the farms and our labour department is still not doing justice for those poor workers.

Politicians, police, the courts and public representatives continue leave life as if these things happen elsewhere in another continent and not in our country and particularly this province.

As COSATU and the people of the North West we are saying enough is enough. We have noted the failure or unwillingness of the government to deal with gender based violence and these social ills.

We believe that there is a link between the current growing poverty and unemployment in the province and the failure of the mines to implement social labour plans and gender related violence.

Our country`s constitution continues to protect the perpetrator while the victims are left defenceless and at the mercy of their attackers.

It has now become a daily or hourly activity that a women, a child or both are raped, killed physically abused, assaulted or all of the above happens to them.

The following late comrades were killed while they were at work at mines:

  • Pinky Mosiane
  • Cynthia Setuke

COSATU, ITUC and the community of the North West, including the working class and the poor will not stand on the periphery and leave the criminals to reign. And we believe that justice delayed is justice denied.

As COSATU and ITUC we demand the following.

1. The full protection of women and children by all the entities of state and the departments.
2. The SAPS must start to prioritise all gender related crimes, especially where women and children are victims.
3. There should be no bail granted to all those who are accused of killing and raping women and children as they often go back and kill the witnesses.
4. Prosecutors must oppose all bail application on gender-based violence and make sure that the witnesses are put on a witness protection program.
5. Mining companies, including Lonmin, must comply with the MPRDA and must implement the social labour plans.
6. Protection of women who are working in the mines especially those who are working underground.
7. Protection of all women and children in all sectors in particular retailers and farms.
8. The end of child labour in all sectors of the economy in the province and the country at large in line with the ILO convention on child labour.

Finally COSATU demands a full commitment by the authorities to act decisively and urgently on this matter and COSATU will not rest until all these demands are met.

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For Premier For mine bosses

Date ........................