Bitter Legacy of Dop System Stalks Farms

Article excerpt

SHE was a regular drinker - drinking while she was pregnant with her second child - and not knowing the consequences.

Now nine years later, Latonia Fredericks realises the effects her drinking had on her daughter, and bitterly regrets her actions.

Fredericks lives with her husband and three children on Eenzaamheid farm near Paarl, which was visited by Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Gerrit van Rensburg last week as part of his department's recognition of World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day (FAS). FAS is a pattern of mental and physical defects that can develop in a foetus in association with high levels of alcohol consumption by mothers during pregnancy.

The farm is one of many in the areas of Paarl and Stellenbosch where farmworkers are battling an alcohol abuse problem. Fredericks had gone to rehab: "I can see with my daughter that she has alcohol syndrome. She is struggling at school and even around here she is not like other children."

After spending nearly a month in rehab in 2002, she relapsed in 2007 before becoming clean again when she started the Ignite programme in March. "I told myself that this is my life and I can't play around with it. …