page 341 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_341.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 10-341

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_341.jpg]

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  • 1976 - (Creation)

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page

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1 page

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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protect workers did not apply to farm labour. Except in rare cases, there was no legislation which fixed minimum wages, working hours and other conditions of work, compensation for injuries or unemployment benefit. The result was to leave farmers perfectly free to make excessive demands on black labour and to reduce farm labourers to a life of poverty and degradation.

With the coming into power of the Nats labour conditions on white farms worsened considerably and the most scandalous excesses were committed on the potato farms in Bethal in the Transvaal. The first exposures which shocked the country wre made in 1946 by the old campaigner Reverend Michael Scott and Gert Sibande, a leading member of the ANC in the area who later became Transval president of the organisation.

(NOTE: On the Bethal exposure check the sequence. One view the first exposures were made in New Age by Ruth working with Carlson. Only after that Henry Nxumalo went and got himself arrested).

Following on these exposures the late Henry Nxumalo, a reporter on the monthly magazine Drum, and a real goal getter, conceived a daring plan for investigating labour conditions in this area. He got himself arrested for a pass offence and in accordance with the practice of the Department of Prisons of supplying farmers with convict labour, Henry ultimately found his way to this notorious area. Later he escaped and returned to Johannesburg and published a full account of his experiences.

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