South Africa's challenge

The Eastern Transvaal is an area of lush, rolling plains in South Africa. Rich in farmland, it provides foodstuffs for the country and its neighbors.But many farm workers are forced to live in abject poverty and squalor earning approximately $50 per month (working 12 hour days, 26 days a month) for back-breaking manual labor. The result is malnutrition, disease, high infant mortality, and human rights abuses. Many of these workers are Mozambiquan refugees who have fled a country racked by 15 years of civil war in order to work hard, earn a decent wage, and live in peace. What many of them find is a situation that is worse than the one from which they came. Impoverished and afraid of deportation by the authorities, they are taken advantage of by farmers. A fair and just South African government would end this abuse and encourage the formation of a farm workers union along with introduction of a minimum wage with fair payment schedules. This would bode well for the "new South Africa" of the future. Keith P. Martin, Victoria, Canada

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