R4,1 million given to BAWSI ahead of Western Cape Farm Strikes
In a parliamentary reply to my question, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has revealed that her department paid R4.1 million to the Black Association of Wine and Spirits Industry (BAWSI).
BAWSI -the farmworker union -had been at the forefront of the violent unrest in the farming regions of the Western Cape. In fact, Nosey Pieterse - the union's secretary -had even thanked Minister Joemat-Pettersson for the funding on his blog.
It is clear from the reply that this funding was given to BAWSI on 8 October 2012, just before the farm strikes began across the province.
This amount of money, coupled with the timing of the transfer, brings into question whether the Department of Agriculture helped fund the farm strikes in the Western Cape.
In the interests of upholding the rule of law and the Constitution, this must be investigated as soon as possible.
I will write to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela to fully investigate this provision of funding and whether or not it was provided to BAWSI to assist them fund the Farm Workers Strikes.
I will also write to the Auditor General, Terrence Nombembe, and request that he investigates whether this provision of funding constituted irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and whether all proper processes were followed in its allocation to an ANC-aligned trade union.
If it is found to be true, Minister Joematt-Petterson must be fired without any further delay.
Statement issued by Annette Steyn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, April 24 2013
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