Written by Nathaniel McClain
Friday, 14 September 2012 07:01
The Rubber Concession area of Salala Rubber Corporation calls German Camp in Margibi County has reportedly become a breeding ground for “Child Labor” and maternal mortality.
According to In Profile reporter who recently visited the area, children under the ages of 10 and 15 years can be seen with a hundred-pound rubber latex on their shoulders, while women are also taping rubber trees.
The reporter gathered that children are reportedly being used by parents or guidance to assist them tap 150 trees daily.
Many of the rubber tapers told the reporter that they have been coerced by their supervisors to tap 150 trees for two hours or else they would forfeit wages that day.
One taper identified as Amos Kollie said because of management’s demand to tap 150 trees a day, parents and guidance are coerced to use their children or their wives to assist them in the process.
Speaking recently in German Camp, Mr. Kollie alleged that SRC management is not only forcing them to tap 150 trees for two hours, but also forced them to produce one thousand five pounds of latex a day noting, “this is why our wives come in to assist us to collect the latex”.
He said if this not is done, the tapers would get their daily wages but they would be penalized for failure to produce the one thousand five pounds a day.
Other female tapers who decided to remain anonymous told the reporter that they are living in deplorable conditions in German Camp in the absence of safe drinking water and pit-latrines, claiming that they sometimes suffer from abortion due to the heavy weight they carry every day.
One lady said due to lack of sanitation in the concession area, management is deducting money from their little salaries at the end of every month for sanitation.
She said one of the things affecting women in the area is maternal mortality rate, claiming that many times women have abortions due to heavy weight they carry for their husbands at the plantation.
She further explained that due to management’s demand for their husbands to tap 150 trees and collect the latex within one hour’s time, women and children go with the employed taper to assist him tap the rubber and collect the latex on time.
She said if this not done their husbands and Children will not get food to eat at the end of the month.
The reporter said when he visited the company’s clinic he only saw three nurses who told him that the clinic does not attend to major cases like operations because of lack of medical doctor, but only diagnoses problems and refer patients to a nearby hospital.
When quizzed as to some of the cases they attend to at the clinic, the nurses told the reporter that they are afraid to talk to Journalists because if management fines out; they would be immediately dismissed.
“Look my brother, the situation here is very bad; women die here during child births because we don’t have train mid-wives and electricity” to conduct delivery at nights.
When contacted, the management of SRC told the reporter that only the General Manager, Danie Beukes could comment on the matter and not any middle staff.
When the reporter attempted entering the bungalow which the General Manager lives, he was prevented by the company security and warned not to enter the fence without authorization.