Allegations of mistreatment of ex-employees “fabricated” and “false” - Trollip

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 1, 2016

Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape leader, and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayoral candidate Athol Trollip, has rubbished allegations that he and his family used unfair labour practices and made racial comments at former employees on a farm they previously owned.

In an interview with CityPress over the weekend, former worker David Kota alleged that Trollip, his father Douglas and grandfather Athol snr would refer to them as “baboons” or “monkeys” if they did something wrong, were underpaid while working from 06h00-18h00, and had to address Douglas as “master” while working on the Mount Prospect farm near Bedford.

He however admitted to the paper that working for Trollip was generally better than under his father, adding that the former provided him with temporary housing after a tornado blew the roof off of his house two years ago.

A further two ex-employees claimed they were subjected to similar instances of name calling, while another, who was born on the farm and employed by Douglas in the 1940’s, claimed to have been fired and chased away, resulting in the loss of livestock he inherited from his father.

Responding to the claims, Trollip told RNews that the entire saga was nothing but a “political ploy” by the African National Congress (ANC) to try and discredit him in the run-up to the local government elections.

“It is the ANC that has manufactured these allegations by abusing the vulnerability of workers in order to produce fabricated statements against me and my family,” Trollip said.

“The Trollip family and myself pride ourselves and our reputation of non-racism and fair treatment of all people.

He added that the timing of the claims two months before the elections were suspicious, describing it as a “last desperate attempt” by a party “whose support has shown a marked decline”.

“The ANC politicking on such fabricated grounds is proof of how politically weak it is in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Trollip said, adding he had not spoken or heard from any of the workers since the claims first broke.

Asked if he had been in contact with the South African Human Rights Commission as claimed, Trollip said he had not heard anything, but was ready to have the matter resolved in court.

Last month, Trollip filled a lawsuit worth a reported R2-million against ANC Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Lawrence Troon, for defamation of character in relation to the allegations. This after claiming he was shown an affidavit of the farmers’ complaints by a journalist, who claimed to have got it from Troon.

 

Additional reporting by CityPress and News24 Wire