Solidarity: 14 year old boy missing after attacks by 3 farmers 11 February 2010

14 02 2010

12 February 2010
Sikhula Sonke Farmworkers Union

Eon Fortuin, the 14 year old boy who was attacked by three farmers has disappeared. The boy was taken to the police station on Tuesday 9 February; he appeared in Court the same day and according to Mr Blacky Swarts a captain at the Robertson police station told us that he was taken to the boy school in Ottery on Wednesday. Sikhula Sonke contacted the social worker at the school; who told us she heard that the boy was there, but that he disappeared on Wednesday 10 February. We believe that the boy was traumatised, by the ordeal, taken out of bed while sleeping, beaten till he was bleeding, tied like a dog and then he had to spend a night in jail and has appeared in Court without support from any family member.His grandmother last saw him when he was thrown on the bakkie. One of the foremen came back to fetch his clothes. Another worker alleged that he had to wash the bakkie which were full of blood. Several workers went to the police station and laid charges, no prosecutions happened yet. A person working at the Robertson Magistrates Court Mr. Theunis said that the boy appeared in Court on Tuesday for ill behavior. We also learned from the dockets at the police station that the accusation of a farm burglary was related to an incident which happened in January, but there was no evidence that linked the boy to the crime. So why are the police claiming he was arrested for theft. The farmer indicated that the boy was on the farm illegally and that he have no right to be there.

A memorandum was handed to the farmer which demanded the following:

  1. A public apology to the family
  2. Compensation to the family for the trauma and ordeal

We told the employer that the justice system will still take its course

We then went to the police station and demanded the following:

  • That the 3 perpetrators be arrested
  • The immediate dismissal of the police officers involved
  • The establishment of a forum of stakeholders
  1. The station superintendent (Mr. Alexander) agreed that disciplinary processes will be followed.
  2. A forum is needed and that we’ll meet in the next week to set it up.
  3. Once the boy’s statement are taken that arrests will be made

We are questioning the issue around the statement since the boy spends an entire night at the police station and several workers including the grand mother laid charges at the police station. We are also questioning the contradictory statements of Police officers and a court official Mr. Theunis and are now calling on the Independent Complaint Directorate to do an investigation.

Miss Fransiena Meyer, the mother of the child said that she was further surprise by the angle taken by the Boland Correspondent journalist from the Burger since its portraits the situation as if it is a criminal on the lose despite the fact that we clearly stated that no evidence was found against the boy. She also covers the assault and make it seems if the farmers were only treating him a bit rough. She further feels that this was one of the worst cases where the truth was twisted and very little homework was done by the correspondent. She feels that the media needs to be independent and it seems that there’s biasness towards a certain group of people.

Please join us for a press conference on Monday 15 February 2010 at 11h00 at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) offices at Community House in Salt River.

We can only loose our chains”

For more information contact:

Sikhula Sonke General Secretary Wendy Pekeur on 083 285 1729, COSATU Western Cape Secretary Mr. Tony Ehrenreicht on 0827733194 and Ms Fransiena Meyer (mother) at 0727581164

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One response

23 03 2012
HY

Many cases of abuse are not reported to police for the simple reason that there is a widespread believe that police officers are more supportive to ‘where the money is’…. Pulling on a rope behind a bakkie, using a protter (electroshocking) seems to be fairly ‘normal’ in Robertson. WIETA that promotes wine making via ethical standards should be more investigative as should wine importers abroad. If that would be the case 8 our of 10 wineproducers will lose all there export. But there are also examples of farmers who do respect their staff and stimulate education. Please do not forget this,




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