Minister to intervene in violence-hit farm areas

2012-11-13 15:14

Cape Town - Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was on her way to the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape on Tuesday afternoon to address table grape farmers and workers.

Ministerial spokesperson Palesa Mokomele said Joemat-Pettersson would have a closed meeting with farm worker representatives in Worcester and then go to Stofland informal settlement in De Doorns to address workers.

Workers had been protesting since last week over working conditions and their wages, demanding R150 a day.

Many workers had been intimidated into joining the strike.

At least 10 people were arrested in the area on Monday for public violence and intimidation.

Mokomele said reports of violence in other areas on Tuesday were being investigated.

Police earlier denied allegations that they attacked a marching group of people in Nduli and Prince Alfred Hamlet, near Ceres, on Tuesday morning.

The Witzenberg municipality, which Ceres falls under, was preparing a report on incidents in the area.

Employer body Agri Wes-Cape said on Tuesday that intimidation of farm workers and producers should end immediately.

Agri Wes-Cape CEO Carl Opperman called on farmers and workers to talk to each other directly about grievances rather than relying on "so-called leaders".

"We are asking the leaders in government to hold the ‘so-called leaders’ of farm workers, who buses people in to create 'critical mass' for protest action," he said.

"The tactics of intimidation, violence and fear which women and children are exposed to, is a clear indication of the manner in which union leaders are working."

The Black Association of the Agriculture Sector (Bawsi) said many farmers were guilty of intimidating their employees.

Bawsi president Nosey Pieterse said they had been travelling through De Doorns since early on Tuesday morning "rescuing" workers from their farmers.

"We have been marching through the farm roads in De Doorns to pick up those workers who called us saying they were intimidated by farmers and threatened with evictions," he said in a phone interview.

"We travelled 10km by foot with a Nyala [armoured police van] in front of us, and about 1 000 workers joined us."

He said he had received "frenzied" calls from police in Ceres asking him to intervene in labour matters there. He would be travelling to the area later in the day.

Pieterse said he had received reports of farm worker strikes in Riebeek-Kasteel, Citrusdal, Piketberg, Grabouw and Villiersdorp.

  • richard.lemmer1 - 2012-11-13 15:18

    Long overdue ,,,, just proves how useless she really is . Waste of taxpayers money !

      ingi.raikes - 2012-11-13 15:27

      I think there could be more to this! Is it not the A.N.C. whipping everybody up to cause disruptions in the D.A. stronghold???

      gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-13 15:39

      I really think its time to escalate this troll called hendrik to News24 management, hes nothing but a name calling racist who seems to not be able to put anything constructive together.

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-11-13 15:39

      Nice pseudo name troll be a man and use your real name our are you just a little boy looking for attention@ hendrik

      godfrey.welman - 2012-11-13 15:55

      I am not holding my breath, what has she resolved thus far.

      hendrik.bruwer.3 - 2012-11-13 16:11

      Will the real Hendrik Verwoerd please stand up? My friend Hendrik, you need to understand that this article is not biased towards the DA. Its merely reporting the facts. You don't have to read the comments below nor do you have to reply. Its a forum where people from all walks of life can express their view. If they don't align with your own view then accept it. Don't use race and politics as your only response. Lot of the people here (black and white) are fed up with government. You need to understand this.

      gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-13 16:33

      hendrik I have read your comment carefully and reply as follows: Firstly you namecall Richard with your bitter attempt at racial humour Secondly you have never before called or put up solutions but now call for it after I mention getting rid of you. I have never commented about anyone been black or anyother colour and a solution is to get the right people in the goverment to help us privte enterprise people create the climate. The fact that the gov in majority black is meaningless it just shows they are incompetent to do the job.

      Desilusionada - 2012-11-13 16:41

      @HendrikVerwoerd "I say stop belittling all black voters as being stupid and uneducated." Please be accurate. By the current statistics I call 66% of the population who votes for the ANC stupid. Not all. The minister of this party that you are so beholden to was in the WC on Saturday. Now she is on her way back here! When she was supposed to have had a meeting on Saturday anyhow! So bloody sure it is a waste of Tax Payers' money......

      walter.tgsa - 2012-11-13 17:04

      @HenrikVerwoerd: Yip, many people agree that when something "bad" is said about the ANC. I also have not seem much "good" the ANC has done lately, not for the country and not for their voters! Farm workers? Yes, their wages are low, but I am sick and tired of workers just going on a rampage everywhere, destroying property (they do not own), like that's the "right thing to do". And when their wages increase, unemployment wil increase too (remember, farm employment numbers are going down?), not to mention food prices (which will hit the poor hard). And then, there are people like you who are just so demented that it is all a racial issue.

  • brandon.mercer3 - 2012-11-13 15:22

    "Workers had been protesting since last week over working conditions and their wages, demanding R150 a day." Then go find another job if your current one isnt working for you. No one forces you to work at a particular farm

      Strikeback - 2012-11-13 15:30

      Agri Western Cape. Visit We would gladly assist.

      erich.goosen - 2012-11-13 17:14

      Minister we all know you havn't been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. Remember the sayng 'when the going gets touch, the tough gets going' - homeward bound.

  • ou.pel.9 - 2012-11-13 15:26

    Nou eers!!!!!!

  • thedbz - 2012-11-13 15:27

    Tina Joemat-Pettersson = useless cANCer member = nothing unusual. Down with the cANCer!

      johan.vanhoff - 2012-11-13 16:09


  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-11-13 15:30

    Yeah right, and she's going to tell them what?

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 19:10

      They are a mob now. They'll listen to no-one.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-13 15:34

    I am glad the minister can at last go listen to the people. I find it strange that no mention is made of meeting with the farmers and their representitves as to what she is going to do to stop the riots,destruction of private and public property and how the unions will pay for the damage. I hope she litens closly to the call to repatriate the forign workers and use locals.

      gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-11-13 15:57

      She will fly there, book into the best hotel, claim S&T, and nothing will improve for the poor. She will, however, get some TV airtime. That's what it's all about.

  • teresa.naicker - 2012-11-13 15:37

    I want to start a protest too, i want to protest against all the protesting going on in this county!!

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-11-13 15:56

      I also want to protest against useless Cabinet Ministers, a failing police force, corruption in government, the absolutely useless CIPC, applied racism in the JSC. I ahve voted against those responsible and its getting me nowhere.

  • gideon.walt - 2012-11-13 15:43

    What rubbish is she gonna tell them now. Its R150 a day, geez this country (humanity for that matter) knows no bounds!!disgusting!!

  • mashudu.ndou.3 - 2012-11-13 15:55

    What is R 1 600 Per Month? This is Peanuts, they deserve better!

      riaan.hermann - 2012-11-13 15:59

      R1,5B for P16 Zuma road Farmworkers look at this 20 000 farmworkers 1,5B divided by 20 000 = R75000 each per year divide by 12 = R6250 per month divide by 20 days = R312.50 per day. there is your R150 per day for the next 2 years - go ask the President why you cant have the Money

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 19:13

      I agree. However, why now? Why have they been pleased to receive this pay for all these years despite the many laws we have? What has the Dept of Labour or the Unions done over the last 18yrs to remedy? Govt is very quick to make other organisations pay, fined, and even we citizens with their massive electricity hikes, tolls etc.,. So why was the farming community allowed to languish for so long without a single thing being done?

  • siphobongohead - 2012-11-13 15:57

    Eish Pay our comrades what they are worth.

      james.harold.946 - 2012-11-13 16:13

      They are!!!!!!!!

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-13 16:59

      Then they would get nothing

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2012-11-13 16:05

    @ Isaac. Just try and take over those farms. Go on big mouth and then lets see the outcome. Where are your title deeds??? You are an uneducated moron.

      james.harold.946 - 2012-11-13 16:13

      Second that Amanda

      richard.lemmer1 - 2012-11-13 16:17

      Yes the a - hole lives in ZIm !!! May he starve !!!

  • Riaan Venter - 2012-11-13 16:14

    @riaan good 1 and true!!

      art5SA - 2012-11-13 16:37

      Cosatu are the instigators of all the labour unrest ACROSS the country...

      art5SA - 2012-11-13 16:37

      Cosatu are the instigators of all the labour unrest ACROSS the country...

      art5SA - 2012-11-13 16:37

      Cosatu are the instigators of all the labour unrest ACROSS the country...

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-11-13 16:16

    Tony and his idiotic Cosatu must get lost. He is the biggest sour grape. He is still upset that Helen Zille beat him and is trying everything to try win the WC back. I bet he is also one who is trying to make the WC ungovernable. Tony! Kind words to u, P!$$ off out of the WC and take your holigan ANC and Cosatu comrads and get out of the WC

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-13 16:19

    What can she tell the workers, as it is the ANC that set the minimum wage in the first place, and we should not forget that they did this to protect their 'freinds' in the Kwa-zulu' Natal clothing industry a few years back, who were discovered to be breaking the law by underpaying their staff. We must also not forget that the farmers do not actually need all this extra labour and that they were doing fine for many years before the onslaught of "economic refugees' arriving in their droves from the Eastern Cape and other poorer provinces and regions. The farmers are trying to employ as many people as possible spreading as much cash as they can, it is crazy to think that their is enormous profit in farms, this is just not realistic or true. A farmer is not necessarily rich as the old saying goes in afrikaans, 'ek het a plaas se' geld maar dit is in die plaas' In English it would read I have all my money and life in the farm, I do not have any money until it sells. The whole thing about these ridiculous low standard of wages across the board is an ANC/Casatu/Alliance thing and their ANC cadre Tony Elreght and his cronies have been running around from town to town fueling this uprising of the poor which they have helped to perpetuate. The ANC has decided to destabilize the Cape at all cost, and they have now focused on the poor and unemployed to help them achieve this, this is the ANC way, and Tony and his thugs should be arrested for instigating public violence.

  • desmond.s.leaner - 2012-11-13 16:44

    The reasons farm-workers are striking: - Restricted movement - Unable to ever own their dwellings - Ongoing generational marginalization - Inadequate compensation (in some cases not even half of the minimum government - requirement) - Absence of benefits (medical aid, unemployment (UIF), retirement fund) Building houses for workers while supplying for the basic needs like water, electricity, food but not paying them a basic salary and restricting their development and movements is an identifiable situation - its called slavery. Sorry.

      riaan.hermann - 2012-11-13 17:04

      Do you understand Casual(contract) workers? They are seasonal workers. So now not only for permanent and temporary workers but all workers has right to stay and all incentives. Where you work does contract workers qualify for Benefits?. there might be the odd farmer abusing the system and wages but 90% of them adhere to agreed structures for Permnent worlers etc. At some stages there will be over a 100 workers (Contract seasonal) on the farm in a season. so lets build a township and clinic come on be serious

      hendrik.bruwer.3 - 2012-11-13 17:46

      Farmworkers all over the world are paid peanuts. Have you ever been to China and South-East Asia? Well, they get paid less. Have you ever been to Zimbabwe? They get R10 a day. Wake up Dez. The unemployment rate is 25%. People should be grateful for the work they have.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-13 19:37

      While I can sympathise with the miners (the non-violent ones) to some extent these guys are just hopping on the bandwagon. To think you can earn R150 a day, when qualified, experienced nannies get paid that in the city is laughable. If you don't like your pay package, get a decent qualification and find other work. That's how it works in the real world?? To then go and cause millions of rands in damages and to expect them to agree to your demands is really just plain stupid! These are businesses just like any other. If they pay more for seasonal labourers they will simply employ fewer of them or hire foreigners who will accept the negotiated wage. Sthembiso I can't believe you just went there, to try and justify farm murders with this? Hope you don't lose anyone in a home invasion... There is no justification for killing anyone! Half the reason food is so expensive is because the farmers are under attack.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-13 23:48

      @DezLee you are right the workers across the entire spectrum of South Africa are being paid to little, including migrant farm workers. However, in the Western Cape the majority of permanent farm workers live on the farm, their housing, electricity and their children's schooling are paid for by the farm, many even have shares in the farm, this is the new way of doing business. This problem we are seeing is not permanent workers and in most cases not even casual workers who work on farms, these are unemployed "economic refugee's' which were bussed in over the years by ANC/Casatu labour brokers who promised poor rural people of tribal origins born on land owned by tribal kings and chiefs, who have found away of getting rid of their youth by shipping them off to cities, such as Cape Town and Northwards to the mines where they exploited by the ANC system. Why do you think the ANC's Tony Erinrehgt and his Casatu buddies are now running around trying to ensure that this truth does not come out, the truth is spilling, and the ANC/Mrs Pieterson is now trying to cover up the mess. Why do you think the DA has requested Mr Zuma to come and show his face to these people. These people claiming to want more pay are not the normal labour force, these are people the DA asked the farmers to accommodate as best they can, it was agreed that this would be the going rate via labour brokers (Casatu Owned) who actually get about R140.00 per worker, they deduct 'costs' but provide no benefits.

  • markhkay - 2012-11-13 16:44

    Hard work demands a decent wage. Stand up for your rights!! R150-00 per day is reasonable. Daar is wyn vir die pyn!!

      florence.clarke.92 - 2012-11-13 21:22

      I agree, the workers are not unreasonable. Who will work for a pittance a day.??????

  • markhkay - 2012-11-13 16:50

    R69-00 per day is robbery. These farmers need to understand that Apartheid is over. This is financial discrimination of the poor.

      riaan.hermann - 2012-11-13 17:07

      Do you have a full time lady working at your house and if so does she get more than minimum wage as per goverment Gazette? I mean more than R 1650.00 per month?

  • markhkay - 2012-11-13 16:53

    R69-00 a day. God will defeat you. These farmers are not businessman- they are downright evil. My advise is not to look for trouble any further and quickly diffuse this situation with a better wage- R100-00 immediately while a suitable settlement can be negotiated. Shame on you!

      riaan.hermann - 2012-11-13 17:08

      Please do the same for the Farmers and improve the selling price with 10% and input cost reduction by 10% -

      manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-11-13 18:28

      Mark I agree with you these farmers have been getting away with slavery wadges, who can suvive on R69, these greedy peole are creating instability in our country.

      FinalJustice - 2012-11-13 18:49

      So you smart financial advisors need a glimpse of the future: Automation of farming practices is one of the primary objectives in SA these days, want to know why? They can not keep up with the demands and incompetence of manual labour. Further more, the prices they are being paid for their produce and the way the retailers inflate these to the end-users are totally out of control. So, prepare yourself for more job-losses in the agricultural sector, and don't cry for me Azania.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-13 19:41

      Yep, same in manufacturing - robots might cost more initially but they are reliable, don't strike and don't need unrealistic wage increases. Our expensive, unskilled, unproductive and unreliable labour force is killing this economy. No one wants to invest here because these guys can't see the bigger picture.

  • desmond.s.leaner - 2012-11-13 16:56

    How irresponsible of News24! The reporter speaks about a farm worker who wants to remain anonymous, then actually shows how this farm-worker disagrees with the strike! If its true that there are attacks on those who do not take part in the strike, then you have doomed the farmworker to attacks tonight. This one farmworker does not represent the whole feeling of farmworkers. Whether farmers now care about the safety of the children of their workers or whatever does not change the fact that the workers are being exploited. I find it amazing how the logic of the average News24 reader is warped...

  • joe.whiteman.9 - 2012-11-13 17:03

    A siff ou bongohead They are overpaying your incompetent comrades. Cant read, cant write, but over qualified in the pro-creation department !!!!

  • daniel.reddie.9 - 2012-11-13 17:07

    When Tina starts her screeching, everyone will put their hands over their ears or just run away. She will resolve nothing, she may even make things worse when she loses the plot as she is apt to do. The only way to resolve the farm workers and employers issues is for all to calm down and have government take the unbiased part of the go-between, if they can. The only way to resolve anything is through peaceful and sensible discussion, we all should know that nothing is truly resolved through violence. And, intimidation of those who know no better will surely sink all peaceful efforts if not stopped by the law enforcers who must do their jobs with a clear head. Wishful thinking? Maybe!!

  • manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-11-13 18:35

    In the interest of this country, good luck to you Tina: at least you are trying, you could have easily sat back and did nothing to expose the weakness of the DA, don't worry about idiots who criticise and criticise yet majority of them are the agents of oppression, God will judge them harshly,

      florence.clarke.92 - 2012-11-13 21:27

      You are what you are.!!!!!!! She should not be in her present position.

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 19:18

    The only solution is to move all workers off private land. Pay them min wage and not accommodate, furnish, school, transport, provide medical, water, electricity. Let them, like the rest of us, have to sort out their own lives as adults. And let the govt then revise the min wage commensurate with zero benefits and provide the infrastructure to make it all possible. Until then, this issue will never go away.

      manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-11-13 21:29

      Stolen land you mean, I agree with and you won't survive a day on your own you idiot

      mark.a.fysh - 2012-11-13 22:16

      Zulu54. If you want a farm, go see the bank. They finance them and are eager to have new clients. It will only take most of your life to pay them back - not much of a price, I am sure you would agree.

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-13 21:02

    This is a good thing and hope the minister could have not taken time to address that, so as of now they must lead by example when there is a problem they should not stay behind they must act while there is time before situation get worse.

      manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-11-13 21:32

      She had to give time to Zille first and when she fails only then interven otherwise she was going to be accused of scorring cheap political points

      riaan.hermann - 2012-11-14 08:45

      zulu.54 what utter rubish my friend well at least you believe yourself

  • florence.clarke.92 - 2012-11-13 21:12

    This woman so irritates me.

      manqoba.zulu.54 - 2012-11-13 21:26

      So how should we help you: go and hang yourself idiot

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