Senzeni Zokwana’s herder doubles his take-home pay

2014-06-08 15:00

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Vuyolwethu Ndabambi got a raise this week after City Press reported that his boss, the new minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries Senzeni Zokwana, paid him R800 a month.

Zokwana, the chairperson of the SA Communist Party (SACP) and former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), paid the 21-year-old cattle herder R1?500 on Wednesday.

Although his salary still falls short of the minimum monthly wage of R2?420.41 for farm workers, Ndabambi is happy to be earning more than he used to.

The herder from Fort Malan village in Willowvale ­refused to speak to City Press this week. But his friend Sithembele Makeleni said Ndabambi was very happy with his increase.

“He is excited because at least this will help him support his family.

“He wants to do a driver’s licence and enrol in a building and construction course. This money will help him realise his dream.”

Makeleni said Ndabambi was afraid to speak to the media because he got into trouble with his employer after the story broke.

This week, the story about how Zokwana paid his herder, who works ­every day of the week, about R26 a day was met with mixed reactions.

The SACP defended Zokwana as did the NUM, which called on all leaders to disclose what they paid their workers. Labour federation Cosatu, ­however, demanded that ­Zokwana pay his employee the prescribed minimum wage of R2?420.41 a month or R111.69 a day, as laid down in the sectoral determination that covers all farm workers.

In a statement, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven called on Zokwana to lead by example “and pay [his] workers the minimum wages prescribed in the sectoral determinations”.

Last week, Zokwana said: “I am paying that boy who works there, who is also a neighbour, R800 for looking after my cattle. He was previously unemployed and at least now he can put food on the table.”

Zokwana could not be reached for comment this week. But in a statement on Thursday, his department said he was committed to lead by example regarding fair wages for farm workers.

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