May Day should not be used as a platform for politicking

Monday was Workers Day and all trade unions celebrated the day worldwide. There is one thing that concerns me, and it is the fact that locally there is such an outcry about labour brokers.

The very union leaders, who are part of government, are the ones crying out about labour brokers when they should actually be affecting the labour brokers at government level.

If this is a system that hinders job creation, then why not scrap it once and for all? Workers, in general, have many unresolved issues on the work front because day in and day out, there’s an outcry about living wages.

Minimum wages and eight-hour working shifts were long introduced, but there are still many companies that do not adhere to the country’s labour laws by offering living wages and those 40-hour per week working hours. It is about time that the government acts strongly against such companies.

The most exploited workers are on farms. Many efforts have been made to intervene as farmworkers, in some instances, work up to 12 hours per day and receive meagre wages at the end of the month. This is one section that needs the most attention because out of those meagre wages, they cannot fully fend for themselves, let alone educate their children. In the final analysis, the entire family ends up being farmworkers from the head of family to the youngest. I must commend premier David Mabuza for having built state-of-the-art boarding schools for farm children who now enjoy the luxury of digital learning, and I bet you, their future looks brighter now than ever before.

Although those schools are there throughout the province, we still need more because they cannot all be absorbed into those schools, but at least he has made an effort. I hope this time next year, we will be celebrating success in the betterment of the working class in terms of living wages, and better and much conducive working conditions. May Day should not be used as a platform for politicking, but the workers need tangible solutions to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer by the day. Many workers find themselves swimming in debt which they shall pay for the rest of their lives with no relief. Enough is enough.

Government must intervene with haste before the people start complaining that this freedom South Africans attained in 1994 is only for a privileged few.

Bongani Hlatshwayo

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