Unawareness of KZN farmworkers about their rights concerning – Committee

Delegation finds farmworkers are treated as if there is no legislation defining how employees should be treated in a farm workplace

Unawareness of farmworkers about their rights concerns committee delegation

15 August 2022

A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development led by Ms Lindelwa Dunjwa, concluded its three-day oversight visit to farms in the KwaZulu-Natal’s UThukela District where it had a series of engagements with farmworkers and farm dwellers in the Ladysmith area.
One of the farms the delegation visited was Inkunzi Piggery which has about 28 full-time employees, to asses the living and working conditions of farmworkers on the farm. However, the farm owner was not available to meet the delegation. Farmworkers complained about a land claim which was made in 1998 which was followed by a successful purchase of two farms by claimants.
The delegation heard that a problem arose when claimants who did not reside on the two farms that were bought were allegedly not allowed to go back to those farms and that problem has not been resolved according to farmworkers. The committee has called on the relevant role-players that include the Department of Employment and Labour to assist in the resolution of the problem.
Ms Dunjwa said the main challenge that exists in most of the farms that the delegation has visited is that farmworkers are treated as if there is no legislation defining the way in which employees should be treated in a farm work place. Ms Dunjwa said the delegation heard in public hearings it held after farm visits that farmworkers are still “undermined, victimised and bullied by farmers” as if they do not have rights.
Ms Dunjwa also said the delegation has noted with shock that most farmworkers are unaware about steps that they need to follow when conflicts arise between them and farm owners. The committees will write a report on the joint oversight visits to farms and submit it to the National Assembly for its consideration.

Issued by Jabulani Majozi, Media Officer, Parliament, 15 August 2022