Children of farmworkers must be capacitated to manage farms – Committee

This is to prevent generational entrapment as unskilled and cheap labourers

Children of farmworkers must be capacitated to manage farms to prevent generational entrapment as unskilled and cheap labourers

4 July 2022

Reflecting on lessons learnt, information they have been presented with and their first-hand encounter with the challenges of farm workers, Ms Lindelwa Dunjwa, the leader of one of the delegations of the joint Portfolio Committees on Employment and Labour, Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform has called on the sector to ensure that farmworkers are skilled and capacitated to undertake specialised jobs in the farming industry.

Ms Dunjwa and fellow Members of Parliament were conducting oversight on farms in the Gauteng Province from 1-3 July 2022. She is of the view that one of the lasting solutions to the plight of farm workers is to ensure that they “don’t remain a reservoir for cheap labour for the rest of their lives. But are, trained and equipped with skills that will qualify them for job progression and to assume specialised jobs in this sector.”
She disproved resolutely, to endorse a situation in which “generation after generation of farm labourers remain unskilled labourers for the tenure of their working life.” 

If the first generation of farm labourers was unskilled, she pointed out, “it can’t be that their off springs will also have to be trapped in this perpetual circle of an unskilled labour force.”
To change the status quo, Ms Dunjwa suggests that “the Department of Employment and Labour should consider introducing skills transfer levies that are currently in place in other sectors of our labour market as a means to entice farm owners to oblige.” 

In addition to that, “it should be the responsibility of the department to ensure that at least a new generation of farm labourers is educated and exposed to the career paths that exist in this industry,” she said.
Ms Dunjwa also called on the Department of Employment and Labour to have career guidance campaigns that will expose the children of farm workers to various career paths that are part of the ecosystem of the industry and to avail bursaries to those with academic potential especially young girls. “If achieved, this could encourage new, young black entrants to take up and manage farming businesses. To better their lives and that of their families, as a means to mitigate the vicious circle of want and victimhood,” she said.

Issued by Abel Mputing, Media Officer, Parliament, 4 July 2022