On Local Branch Campaigns we have decided that all branches should decide on and implement their own campaigns by the end of June. The land reform and violence against women is always a core and an on-going Sikhula Sonke campaign. As per our strategic plan.
Rawsonville Anti- Alcohol Abuse Campaign
The problem of alcoholism which has been cemented by many years of the illegal “Tot” or “Dop” system has had devastating consequences for farm workers, evidence of this can be seen throughout the farm workers communities. During the month of March we ran an Anti-Alcohol Campaign in our Rawsonville branch as members has felt that alcoholism is a major problem in their community.
We have done a pamphlet, designed a banner, and arranged for the printing of t-shirts. Communicated with stakeholders to get their buy-in and participation, these would be the South African Police Services, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Dept of Health, Labour, Social Services, the Breederiver Municipality, etc, have networked and co-opted local partners such as Badisa, Churches, Toevlug Rehabilitation Centre, etc. All staff at the office including has assisted local organiser with the farm information sessions that led up to the march and the public meeting and information sharing sessions on Saturday 31 March 2012. We have also set up media coverage for the event and arranged radio interviews for Grace, our local organiser and our Caseworker with the local Community Radio Station.
The challenge that we as a union has is that substance abuse is a common problem amongst farm workers. This abuse obviously has dire consequences such as loss of work due to drunk on duty, absent without leave, losing the right to tenure of housing, domestic abuse, etc, for our members’ work and family life. As a union we need to network more and garner granting of continues integrated support services from all stakeholders to our farm communities. Having an awareness raising campaign is not enough to bring about substantial behavioural changes in our communities and we need a political and social commitment from both the public and private sector in our endeavours. Sikhula Sonke needs to work out a realistic approach as to what our intermediary role as a social movement is and what our collective aims, demands and voice is around sustainable support and solution to substance abuse in our farming communities.