Farm workers still maltreated, hearings find

2016-11-13 22:01
Farm workers during an earlier protest about working conditions in the Western Cape. (Netwerk24)

Farm workers during an earlier protest about working conditions in the Western Cape. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Evictions and the maltreatment of farm workers were among the disturbing trends uncovered by country-wide hearings by the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform which ended this week.

"It is unacceptable that 22 years after the start of a democratic dispensation the people are still treated with no dignity, undermining progressive laws of this country," Committee Chairperson Phumuzile Ngwenya-Mabila said in a statement on Sunday.

Ngwenya-Mabila said the personal stories they had heard would ensure they tailored the law to help end such abuses. 

The committee is processing a land reform amendment bill and has hosted nationwide public hearings with relevant stakeholders, after the last hearings took place in Upington, Northern Cape, on Saturday.

Ngwenya-Mabila said they found that some farm workers had been evicted after farms were sold to new owners.

"The transfer of land leaves farm workers and farm-dwellers vulnerable, as the new owners tend to evict people," she said.

In four separate instances, families had been evicted after a worker dies or retires.

Some workers or their relatives also faced difficulties gaining access their family grave site on farms and quality education for their children. 

She said these represented a worrying narrative that undermines the rights of workers.

The committee would instruct the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to strengthen the Land Rights Management Facility programme to ensure that it achieves its intended objectives.

Read more on:    rural development  |  farming

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