N RESPONSE to MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane’s incredible denial about the true state of affairs at Magwa and Majola tea estates in the article entitled, “Tea cups clatter over Magwa” (Daily Dispatch, January 31), I’d like to say the following:
Having not had the benefit of sight of the MEC’s “lengthy response” I will have to restrict myself to countering what was printed in the said article.
The MEC asserts that my statement was lurid and “filled to the brim with falsehoods and misinformation”.
The facts are that I attached video evidence of interviews conducted with hungry workers as well as many photographs that are testimony of the state of neglect of the plantations and factories.
The MEC criticised the use of “pricey cameras” on our “safari”. The facts are that we went to see and hear for ourselves – he hasn’t been to either estate since his appointment as MEC! Yet he says all’s well.
The MEC says, “salaries had been paid to workers and production would start soon”. The facts are that neither management nor workers are aware they’ve been paid. At Magwa some workers mistook us as potential investors and pleaded, “sitathe siyafa apha” (take us, we are dying here).
Regarding production starting soon, the MEC clearly has no idea about tea production – perhaps it’s he that should “listen to the issues at hand” and familiarise himself with the real state of affairs there.
Lastly let it be known that the MEC’s offer of a “cup of tea that runneth over” is typical of the empty ANC promises that the people of this province have been hearing for the past 20 years. The proof of the tea will be in the making!
The DA will monitor whether tea plucking and production of black tea will happen in this tea season that ends in March.
I wonder if the MEC is prepared to stake his job or his salary on it, as the workers have had to do? I doubt it! — Athol Trollip, DA leader, Bhisho