page 342 - Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_342.jpg]

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NMPP-PC-NMPP-PC-2012/14-chapter 10-342

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Long Walk Original Manuscript [LWOM_342.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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The sensational disclosures by a man who had himself worked on these farms and who could speak authoritatively on the scandals and brutalities shook the whole country and led to intensive investigations by the South African press. 'New Age' sent out there its own reporter Ruth First and in a series of scathing articles gave a wealth of detail on the barbarous conditions that existed on those farms. Soon the Sunday Times, the Rand Daily Mail and other sections of the press were on the same trail and helped to bring the conditions of semi slavery to a wider public. Attorney Joel Carlson brought a number of actions in the Supreme Court which further highlighted the atrocities committed on white farms.

Broadly speaking the picture that emerged from these investigations was as follows. Quite a substantial portion of labour on the potato farms consisted of convict labour supplied by the Department of Prisons in the knowledge that some of these men would never return. The farms also made use of persons deported from the urban areas under the influx control regulations and of Africans who came from the neighbouring countries and who entered South Africa illegally.

The farms labourers worked on the potato fields from dawn to sunset with hardly any rest in between, earned nominal wages, lived on meagre rations and those who fell ill received no medical attention.Labourers who did not work hard enough were flogged, some to death while others were crippled for life. Many of these farmers ran their own private prisons where the labourers were kept under insanitary conditions. Although the government had an inspectorate system to check abuses

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