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Grooms Protest – Randjesfontein Under Siege

Vaal Thursday meeting under threat

South African horseracing finds itself at the crossroads as protest action by the industry’s single largest sector threatens to spread countrywide.

Thursday’s Vaal racemeeting is also in jeopardy with reports of a lockdown of various training yards by protesting Grooms at the Randjesfontein Training Centre earlier today.

While reports are sketchy, a Gauteng trainer told the Sporting Post that certain of his colleagues  were held hostage earlier.

Apparently Grooms will down tools on Thursday, and trainers were making contingency plans to water and feed their horses.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the trainer said that armed vehicles and security had been deployed as there were frightening threats of horses being released from the centre..

While Grooms are employed by Trainers, there was no comment forthcoming from the racing operator who manages horseracing in the region.

Last month a protest at the same centre resulted in a serious knock for betting turnover and losses for owners and trainers as a Sunday meeting at Turffontein was badly affected.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour met with the Department of Labour and the Department of Trade and Industry to discuss matters affecting employees in the industry last week.

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14 comments on “Grooms Protest – Randjesfontein Under Siege

  1. Chris Swart says:

    Let’s see how quickly the flyhalf and game breaker gets the ball to his wings

    Or will he sit deep back in the pocket and let everyone else do the donkey work while he claims the glory.

    I’m sure they released a statement recently of their victory

    Now let’s hear their resignations

  2. Dawie Tert says:

    I remember that the NHRA and Phumelela stepped in to help grooms earn more money although they did not employ the grooms. They agreed between themselves without finding out from owners what they thought, that grooms were to get 1% of the owners stakes.
    I heard that the NHRA has been helping the Labour department interview trainers and assist grooms.
    At the last Randjes protest, Phumelela had private meetings with the EFF.
    Phumelela and the NHRA better get this sorted out. They are responsible for this.

  3. Francise says:

    He won’t jump, he will have to be pushed.

  4. beatle says:

    No grooms at Vaal racetrack this morning so i don’t think they will race today

  5. beatle says:

    The same is happening at the Vaal training centre – no grooms at work – cannot see racing taking place today

  6. Rian says:

    Glad the racing cancelled, now only Durban and Cape Town to follow, cant keep paying rubbish wages , name and shame those responsible !!!!

  7. Barry V says:

    Sad situation indeed , best the powers that be roll up their sleeves and find a mutually beneficial solution here. The JULY is around the corner and the EFF have already thrown their ” beret ” into the ring by intimating that they will cause chaos at this premier event should these grievances not be sorted out !!

  8. beatle says:

    Will they allow the same grooms back to work ? So as owner our horses could be in danger of been harmed – who will reimburse us ???

  9. Sandhiran says:

    Agree with you Riaan .. the guys on the top sit pretty with nice salaries yet the guys in the bottoms who do all the hard work suffer . It’s a harsh reality and I hope it gets sorted out quickly or else racing may become a sport of the past

  10. Jess K says:

    You can’t expect a person to live on 3k a month. And a Friday braai and a couple of beers just doesn’t cut it !
    Our racing authorities have turned a blind eye to this for too long now and the old “trainers are individual contractors, bla blah blah” excuse is wearing a little thin, especially with the industry teetering on the ropes whilst the fat cats earn huge salaries (and for what, one might ask).
    Besides the purchase price and the 8-10k a month the owner is already forking out, he/she is now lumbered with a 21% deduction on stakes (that’s another dodgy issue best left for another day). Recently the trainers squeezed a further 3% from the owners raising their stakes’ cut from 7% to 10%.
    May sound simplistic but why not show good faith and pass on that 3% to the grooms ? Not because they are striking (which they are more than entitled to) but because it’s the right thing to do.
    If there is no compromise reached and if fairness doesn’t prevail , you can kiss the horseracing industry goodbye, if its not too late already.

  11. Don says:

    what are the grooms asking for? exactly

  12. B d steele says:

    Jess R90 per month extra not going to help ,In the end trainers going to have to pay more and pass it on to owners and a few more will leave racing ..Everybody happy grooms ,my wife ,and CIC

  13. Rian says:

    Wondering how the grooms travel to the different venues, by plane, bus , train ?????
    Also just asking if any play golf in South Africa or even get invited
    How many of the top grooms accompany there trainers to sales events
    Well said Jess

  14. Basil says:

    What about asking the government to reduce their taxes on racing to assist in this regard.
    Surely they are participants in this debacle. Some owners and trainers are operating on the edge of a cliff and have no way of solving this problem. Government needs to adopt a “pull strategy” to enhance employment at decent salaries so that the flow of income taxes to them (including some owners and trainers) can be as high as possible. Unemployment is rife in RSA and all must be done to avoid the situation becoming worse if this situation continues. The President has declared war on unemployment and promotes foreign investments. Lets hope he also considers horse ownership as an investment to create income for the state as well as income derived from liveable wages for the grooms.

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