News24

Farmworker protests historic - minister

2012-11-26 11:39

Johannesburg - Recent farmworker protests over poor labour conditions have changed South Africa's history, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Monday.

"We cannot wish away our problems, we cannot be in denial. We have to face up to challenges and we cannot blame for what is happening in our country," she said at a New Age breakfast in Johannesburg.

"This is exactly why I said it's a historic moment in agriculture. If you do not stand up for your own rights, no one will recognise your pain and agony."

Abuse

She said research reports by the Human Rights Commission since the late nineties had highlighted atrocities in the sector, particularly in the North West and Western Cape, where recent protests were held over wages and living conditions.

The reports showed workers were living in inadequate shelters and were subject to racial and gender abuse.

"All farmers are not abusive. There are very good farmers. But farmers think that if they pay a basic salary and they have paid the minimum wage requirement, they have done enough," Joemat-Pettersson said.

She acknowledged that not all farmers would be able to afford a wage demand of R150, up from the R70 daily wage set in law.

"Our [agriculture] production costs in this country are very high and this includes the cost of fuel, electricity and fertiliser," she said.

She said, however, that it was "criminal" to pass on this cost of production to farmworkers.

Inequalities

The minister agreed that the perception of very high profit margins in agriculture was not entirely accurate.

"The profit margins in agriculture are actually very small. There are different commodities which are obviously more lucrative."

She said these perceptions were based on workers who witnessed their employers go on luxurious holidays and drive fancy cars, while they remained in their shacks.

"Those inequalities will never go missed."

Comments
  • Thandeka2Luv - 2012-11-26 11:48

    Anothoer gimmick talk shop

      darryn.lahner - 2012-11-26 12:04

      What about civil "SERVANTS" and their luxurious lifestyles???? That too, "will never go missed". Hypocrite.

      piet.lombard.5 - 2012-11-26 12:06

      Funny she don't look that DUMB....

      darryn.lahner - 2012-11-26 12:07

      Is that fur she has around her neck????

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2012-11-26 12:17

      Tina, look like you pick up some weight. Nice lifestyle???

      J.D. - 2012-11-26 12:35

      Mercedes Benz communist. Like Blade

      andres.dewet - 2012-11-26 12:38

      And what about YOU... government... and your dead silence that you make almost double off each bottle of wine in Customs & Excise duty and VAT, than producers make? That it's YOUR responsibility to provide basic services, that farming is a business and not a social service? That the department of Rural Development is in shambles. That most farmers do provide social services, free housing, transport, retirement and that abuses are in the minority. If the sector is so shameful, why not release those statistical findings and shame them publicly? Shameful to pass expenses of production to farmworkers: HOW DISGUSTINGLY DISINGENUOUS! Read again: Your tax, your parastatal ESKOM, your water-rights taxes! Stop using the stick, use a carrot... give farmers who empower and run upskilling programs tax-breaks. You take less of a cut, maybe farmers could pay more. This government is more and more of a farce and your rhetoric rings hollow. You don't care, you care about political posturing, you care about milking the industry from all sides. You ONLY side with the majority to win votes, with no regard for the long-term effects of empowering the rural poor or huge job-losses that come with pricing unskilled labour out of the market.

      paulvernonza - 2012-11-26 13:39

      @ Annman Never a truer word said. Give that man a bells

      christopher.shining - 2012-11-26 14:07

      They deserve luxury cars and holidays. They the owners, owners do that. Stop wishing and wanting and start working for it. Has any farm worker gone to their boss and said I would love to start my own hectre of farm and if it works we can split the profits...not one..they too damn lazy or are just born workers.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-26 11:49

    And now she tones down her idiotic earlier remarks about farmers,sexual abuse etc. I rename her "flip-flop" for all the turns and twists.

      aniken.vader.31 - 2012-11-26 15:43

      In Africa this is historic. In other parts of the world we had historic moments when: fire was discovered, the wheel was invented, weapons were created, flight was achieved, industrial revolution happened and we walked on the moon as well as splitting the atom. Striking was first done in ancient Egypt. But In south Africa having farmers strike is sooooooo historic lol...

      johan.maree.5036 - 2012-11-26 16:25

      Don't believe anything she says, she has been found guilty by the public protector for spending tax money on herself and flying her kids from the Europe on tax money... hypocrite!

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-26 11:52

    Let the farmers start automating a lot of the work. Then he can get rid of 3/4 of his work force and pay the remaining 1/4 a higher wage. Joemat-Pettersson even admits that the cost of production is high. So where is all the extra money going to come from??? Why doesn't the government give farmers fuel tax free so that they can pay the workers better. All government does is forces the employer to cough up all the time but never provide incentives or support. But I guess that's how you fund "projects" like zuma's compound.

      jacques.smit - 2012-11-26 12:44

      Thats already happening.. I know of three farmers thats busy automating atm, and planning on crops that's less labour intensive.. Dont force the hand the feeds you..

      tc.convulvulous - 2012-11-26 13:15

      Kala, a family member of mine employed 35 labourers on his dairy farm - he now has four. Theyt work shifts of two at a time. The four labourers also do not live on the farm, they live at a nearby village. This 94% reduction in labour was achieved through automation. Have you seen automated milking sheds - they are impressive! Why was the big investment made a few years ago? Precisely because they heard the ANC-rumbles and fore-saw the labour problems coming! It is called Risk Management and Economics.

  • sipho.dube.92 - 2012-11-26 11:57

    People are uninformed and as a result they make wrong decision. Farmers need to also realize they are working with people and applying proper Human Resource Management and leadership skill is key in farms. The issue of illegal immigrants and exploitation of the people need to stop. The police also need to clamp down on violant protests and intimidation , please thugs who do that must be jailed. Farms need funding from government and support otherwise they will not be able to pay proper salaries. Government need to intervene and ensure the violation of human rights in some farms is put to an end.

      darryn.lahner - 2012-11-26 12:06

      It ain't going to happen. The only thing that government can support is their pants with braces for their fat wallets and KFC binges.

      andres.dewet - 2012-11-26 12:54

      I say: Tax breaks for empowering employees! Use the carrot rather than the stick. Make it beneficial to do the right thing. So many farmers are doing the right thing, yet are vilified all the same; also have their properties burnt to the ground. We're FairTrade and we're sickened and tired of being unprotected from all this shenanigans and painted with the same brush by government. Sad thing is, this constant vilification is quickly destroying an appetite for empowerment, as it's almost: Damned if you do, damned if you don't. So SAD!

      SarelJBotha - 2012-11-26 13:06

      I agree, but the regime is the ones who needs education on farming and how business work in general. How about they give farmers tax breaks for all the extras they give to workers and then farmers use this money to better workers life's? I bet you they will not as these taxes are how they enrich themselves at the expense of the workers ad poor.

  • marc.schnehage - 2012-11-26 11:59

    Tina, you need to put as much emphasis on the rights of the farmers as you seem to put onthe rights of the workers. With every right there is a correponding responsibility. You need to also protect the farmers against constant threats on their lives! Your need to protect the farmers as they are THE WHOLE COUNTRY'S source of food. If the workers demand more money, and by your own admission you know that profit margins in the agricultural sector is very low, then you need to look at subsidies in order to carry those increased wage demands. Your are sadly neglecting your duties if you do not look afer the farmers as well! Or is it perhaps a matter of they are white farmers, they must fend for themselves without any help from the government?

  • Deon - 2012-11-26 12:04

    Maybe this is a good time to introduce some farm subsidies again to help farmers be able to pay better salaries.

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-11-26 12:54

      Haha. The only subsidies the ANC will EVERY pay, is subsidies to their corrupt cronies' own pockets. Just look how they, who claim they represent the poor workers, REFUSE to give in to a wage subsidy, that will allow small businesses like mine to actually EMPLOY and TRAIN young black people - giving them a chance at a better life. But no, they want my (and your) tax money, and STILL want US to sacrifice in any way possible so THEY don't have to to their job. Pathetic 'revolutionaries'.

      Deon - 2012-11-26 12:59

      The WC might not be against a type of subsidy as DA rules here.

      juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-11-26 13:56

      Yes well then we need to first get rid of the Lesotho and Zimbabweans which were apparently at the core of the violence. Why on earth we should be feeling sorry for them in give in to their demands God only knows. If it is so awfull to work here they can go back to Zimbabwe or Lesotho and eat insects. Again this African arrogance knows no limmits

  • thaluki.malema - 2012-11-26 12:05

    HISTORIC????? WTF woman? They were TRAGIC!!!! If you did your job properly, none of the destruction would have happened. I wish the farmers start automating like the rest of the world, so all these stone throwing, vineyard burning, looting drunkards are without jobs.

      carica.mostert - 2012-12-04 09:50

      Well said!

  • joe.farmer.92775 - 2012-11-26 12:05

    "All farmers are not abusive. There are very good farmers." but all cANCer MP are See You Next Tuesday's.

  • thomas.visser.12 - 2012-11-26 12:08

    Wonder maar net. Wat het die boere al gedoen vir hul werkers en wat het Tina Joemat al vir die boere gedoen. Sit dit op skrif en jy sal skrik.

      juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-11-26 14:39

      Soos die ingelse se "I rest my case"

  • carl.debeer.52 - 2012-11-26 12:12

    Wanted: Agricultural Minister - qualities should include at least some form of education and a sound knowledge in the agricultural sector. Candidates should be able to read/write and communicate in english and not speak rubbish every time they open their mouths. Successful candidates will hopefully be honest and not corrupt bigots!

      SarelJBotha - 2012-11-26 13:07

      We need a real Boer to take this job, not some AA wannabee.

  • Neil Alberts - 2012-11-26 12:12

    and so does the inequality of spending 250m on the presidents house will also not go by unnoticed!!! and why are u allowed to drive a fancy car and go on luxury holidays??? what makes u so damn special? at least a farmers input in this country makes a contribution! unlike u Mrs Minister

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2012-11-26 12:13

    Strikeback can not in any stronger terms view some of the minister's remark as utter nonsense. Firstly, how can the Human Right's Commission complain about the living conditions of workers, if other sectors of business, who pay similar wages, does not supply accommodation at all. What about us tax paying employers that sit and watch the people voted into power, "go on luxurious holidays and drive fancy cars, while" we have to foot the bill. Damn, at least the farm is ours!! Thirdly, when farmers has paid the basic wage and conformed to the minimum wage requirements, he has done enough! The rest is a bonus and not a right. No person, who has not owned a business in their life, is qualified to lead a country. Being unemployed and landing a position as politician, does not make you know it all. Maybe politicians should be paid according to their tertiary education qualifications and not for all the rubbish they think out, when they need votes. www.strikeback.co.za

  • michael.smit.73997 - 2012-11-26 12:14

    shut up you are a coloured sell out. Coloured people have the sense not to vote for anc cos they not stupid like the anc people. you just with the anc to get a free first class ride with the gravy train

      carica.mostert - 2012-12-04 09:52

      LOL!!!! Truth hurts as they say! These people that vote for the ANC all believe that they making our country a better place!

  • bennie.kruger.5 - 2012-11-26 12:15

    The ANC Department of Employment, Division of Labor Standards claimed a De Doorns farmer was not paying proper wages to his staff and sent an agent out to investigate him. ANC AGENT: I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them. FARMER: Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him R1200 a week plus free room and board. Then there's the mentally challenged guy. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about R100 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of brandy every Saturday night so he can cope with life. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally. ANC AGENT: That's the guy I want to talk to - the mentally challenged one. FARMER: That would be me.

      piet.snot.77964 - 2012-11-26 13:31

      Thanks Bennie for that - really true!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-26 12:15

    Our greatest challenge is getting rid of you...

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  • peet.dames - 2012-11-26 12:21

    Yes kill the industry and the economy. It is impossible to change the culture it is the self destructive gene which always lead to begging, anarchy and murder Africa's track record speaks for itself

  • MSGRule - 2012-11-26 12:21

    Fur and the glasses. cANCer always covering their eyes so the lies cant pour out. How brainwashed and sad is this that Mrs. Fur walks in between the workers with lavishness hanging from her lips. Hypocrite government

  • talana.malherbe - 2012-11-26 12:31

    Like we have to witness the ZNC people in power becoming billionaires and we remain poor. Like voters see Zoomer's village being upgraded and they remain in shacks. Your observation makes no sense Tina.

      talana.malherbe - 2012-11-26 12:36

      Like we have to witness the ANC people in power becoming billionaires and we remain poor. Like voters see Zoomer's village being upgraded and they remain in shacks. Your observation makes no sense Tina. Maybe if these farms were in another province you remarks will be different.... You are such a hypocrit!

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-11-26 12:31

    "But farmers think that if they pay a basic salary and they have paid the minimum wage requirement, they have done enough," Joemat-Pettersson said." What am I missing here?

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-11-26 12:31

    I think you're talking about challenges facing you, not us, and just so by the way where have you been sleeping for the past 18 years? On the grave train, I assume.

  • phillip.fischer.39 - 2012-11-26 12:35

    So it is not criminal to pass on the wage increases to us? The already overburdened, honest, taxpaying citizens of this country? Our so called minister of Agriculture...have a look at what happened under her watch and tell me that this is not going to happen throught the country if someone more capable than she takes over her post... http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/content.php/5187-Animals-on-government-farm-left-to-starve

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-11-26 12:39

    This Joemat Petersen cow is just another dull tool in the ANC woodshed and a big spending one at that.........bottom line.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-26 12:48

      Stephen.j.dickson.3 Yes and dear Tina has a lovely apartment and a house in Sweden. Probably hanging on to it just in case she has to flee.

  • barnie.huysamer - 2012-11-26 12:42

    The minister agreed that the perception of very high profit margins in agriculture was not entirely accurate. "The profit margins in agriculture are actually very small. There are different commodities which are obviously more lucrative." She said these perceptions were based on workers who witnessed their employers go on luxurious holidays and drive fancy cars, while they remained in their shacks. "Those inequalities will never go missed." And what about SOE's where top management get paid very lucrative package & millions in bonus irrespective of performance and without risking their own capital to run the business? Also interesting that the reports by the HRC since the late 1990's have been ignored by government. I hope Tina, Tony, Marius & Nosey have answers by 4 Dec.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-26 12:43

    I thought Botox mouth was chosen to fix these challenges facing us.

  • Antipoaching - 2012-11-26 12:46

    this woman is a shocker! Madam Minister the farmers pay salaries, provide housing, electricity, water, transport, they often allow their staff to keep livestock on the farm, many farmers are providing schools for the children of their employees, the staff are often given ground on which to grow crops, the farmers are expected to mother, father, doctor etc in the event of disputes or family disagreements. The farmer must carry the cost of stock losses due to stocktheft, crop disease, natural disasters (drought, flood & fire), death of stock by illness, crop and stock losses due to staff negligence/theft. So you know what Madam Minister, don't criticise and malign farmers whilst you are gorging at the trough!

      carica.mostert - 2012-12-04 09:54

      They dont think that far! The farm workers get everything as you say! There pay literally is spending money! Ungrateful is what you call it!

  • walter.tgsa - 2012-11-26 12:54

    "Facing up to challenges" or "If you do not stand up for your own rights, no one will recognise your pain and agony", she has an interesting speech writer? Why was she not proactive and did something about these low wages before all these problems started?

  • gerritvb - 2012-11-26 12:55

    "....She said these perceptions were based on workers who witnessed their employers go on luxurious holidays and drive fancy cars, while they remained in their shacks....." Now, what do you think the voters perception are of the ministers and other officials in out government?

  • caine.abel.75 - 2012-11-26 12:56

    All cabinet ministers along with zuma, as good as water bombs in war time bunch of usseless twatters mouthing of spin doctor scripts..fact...they are all good for fk all except for spending our money

  • njdejager - 2012-11-26 12:57

    History repeats itself just under a new so called "democracy" with the ANC. Interesting times.

      carica.mostert - 2012-12-04 09:55

      We still living in apartheid but Apartheid in reverse!

  • SarelJBotha - 2012-11-26 13:03

    Tina,you have been weighed and found to light in the panties. It's time for you to exit, do not collect R100, do not collect anything, just go......

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-11-26 13:05

    high profit margins not being entirely accurate??? I'm sorry Tina, they're downright bloody WRONG. as for the rest of your "speech"... nobody gives a damn because you, like most other MPs, are absolutely clueless about anything.

  • mengelbrecht1 - 2012-11-26 13:06

    The profits are made by the retailer and their shareholders, that is the way of the world. since the establishment of the freemarket system. Yesterday P&P was selling a watermelon for R60.00. now you tell me if they paid more than R10.00 for it? Point 2: If a country does not look after it's farmers then that country is doomed to rely on impoting food. What cost then? We have farmers leaving SA and farming in Countries such as Zambia, Mocambique and Congo. Why?? Because they are being treated like human beings and not enemies of the state.

  • CathrynReece - 2012-11-26 13:08

    test

  • markhkay - 2012-11-26 13:11

    Are you serious?

  • piet.snot.77964 - 2012-11-26 13:23

    "Our [agriculture] production costs in this country are very high and this includes the cost of fuel, electricity and fertiliser," said Tina! And the lack of productivity from many of the farm workers also adds to the high cost of production!

  • dean.hart.58 - 2012-11-26 13:30

    At the end of the day the farm workers deserve a decent wage, but they deff need to be educated about how violent strike action actually puts them worse off, because it deals a great blow to the industry affected! JOB LOSSES Strike action with mass people, who protest peacefully has a far more powerful message than how these thugs carry on burning, looting an destroying any thing in the path!!!

  • allan.keyzer - 2012-11-26 13:37

    "If you do not stand up for your own rights, no one will recognise your pain and agony." Jo Ma the ANC has been promising jobs and a better life to the citizens for 18 years - now you as minister are saying the citizens must do it themselves. The workers in mining and now in agriculture have seen they do not need the Unions and shortly will see that they do not need the ANC.

  • niki.wessels - 2012-11-26 13:42

    "She said these perceptions were based on workers who witnessed their employers go on luxurious holidays and drive fancy cars, while they remained in their shacks." "Those inequalities will never go missed." That's why they looked at the lifestyles of the top brass and got rid of the ANC in the Western Cape.

  • caine.abel.75 - 2012-11-26 13:53

    what the hell does she know they all she know is spending taxpayers money

  • Deon de Lange - 2012-11-26 15:30

    ...and not a word about the govt's outrageous taxes on the industry. Hypocrite!

  • tristan.constable.1 - 2012-11-26 15:38

    The gap between the rich and the poor, is extremely wide with thousands of places to hide. Yet again... A war is coming. Which side will you be on?

  • johnwest.hendriks - 2012-11-30 07:36

    Poor working conditions....Poor wages....White owned farms....Bul-bul-bul. Most of these strikers on the farms are being driven to the farms from other areas. They do not even work on the farms that they are protesting at. Most of them do not even work or live in those areas. There is a shady dark hand behind these strikes. I know some of the farmers there! These eye-witnesses told me this. These are also the guys hiring external security and now we have to hear that the police have everything under control...!??What?? If they had it under control, why are there more private security needed? Hu? Think. Have a look at this video and see how the farmers are really patrolling those areas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aDD8A1i-UE

  • anton.briel.5 - 2012-12-04 07:34

    The reports showed workers were living in inadequate shelters and were subject to racial and gender abuse. Isnt this racial thing becoming boring now? Farm worker, why do you work on the white man's farm? Because, instead of getting an education, you were pissing it up on the papsakke of wine. Don't blame the white farmer for your failure, nobody forces you to work on a farm. Get an education, get a better job, stop humping like bunny rabbits, then you'll have less mouths to feed. Blame yourself,you wine drinking bastard, not the good farmer who is at least prepared to pay you.

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