Rawsonville - A new body for farm workers has put the blame for the death of rugby player Riaan Loots squarely on the way farmers in the Rawsonville area treat their employees.
Before Ben Zimri, 26, of Ceres and Wayne Matthee, 19, of Paarl, were released on Tuesday, they were ordered to appear in the magistrate's court again on September 8.
They have been charged with murder after the death of 24-year-old Loots.
Loots, the star flyhalf of the Rawsonville Rugby Club, died after a match between Delicious of Ceres and Rawsonville on June 23, during which he was hit in the throat in a stiff-arm tackle and then apparently kicked in the head.
Henry Gouws, chairperson of a new co-ordinating body for farmworkers which was founded on Tuesday at Stellenbosch, said an innocent man had died because an abscess in society had burst open.
"Farmers must ask themselves honestly: 'What was my contribution to the death of young Riaan? How do I treat my people and the people around me?' "
Gouws, who is also spokesperson for the Amwa farmworkers' union, said most of the complaints from farmworkers came from this area, and they were mainly about human rights violations.
He referred to a series of incidents, including one in which a farm manager from the area allegedly assaulted a woman farm worker.
When she wanted to lay a charge against him, he apparently threatened to evict her from the farm.
He claims the same manager also assaulted a young boy so severely that the child had to spend a day in hospital.
"The people go to the rugby field burning with frustration," he said.
"An abscess burst open and an innocent man had to pay the price for the deeds of others."
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