Farm wages: Joemat-Pettersson to meet Zuma

2012-11-14 09:03

Johannesburg - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson is expected to meet President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday to get his support for higher wages for farmworkers.

"The minister was asked by the farmworkers to intervene and to speak to the president to escalate their demands," her spokesperson Palesa Mokomela said.

"Joemat-Pettersson will basically act as their messenger when she hopefully meets with President Zuma today. She will ask the government to re-determine the wages of farm workers."

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he was aware of the proposed meeting, but would not comment as it was an internal matter.


Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape had been protesting for a week over their wages, demanding R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers.

According to reports on Wednesday protests were taking place in 16 towns. Several workers had been arrested for public violence.

On Wednesday morning, Joemat-Pettersson called on the labour department to intervene in the Western Cape farmworkers' strike.

"I have no capacity to advise or influence the employment conditions commission," she told SAfm.

"That is a matter for the department of labour or the minister of labour. We have done what we could as the department of agriculture and we will continue supporting workers."

She said she had helped "restore relationships" between striking farmworkers and farmers.

"I think we've [the department] acted as a facilitator to allow that these negotiations and talks stay on track... We cannot afford this sector to lose jobs... that is why we decided to participate in normalising the situation."

"We call on all workers to stop the violence, to stop the vandalism," the minister said on SAfm.

  • Lucky - 2012-11-14 09:07

    perhaps they should discuss the issue over a glass of lovely south african wine?

      brian.connell.18 - 2012-11-14 10:11

      I would have no problem, as an ex-farmer, in paying what is demanded, but would immediately remove all other 'extras' such as free accommodation, free transport, free health care, free support to families, and all the other things that farmers so willingly GIVE to their staff. And if they don't like it - investigate and invest in machinery to automate the various tasks. And one other thing ..... why destroy the infra-structure while dancing and singing? If and when demands are negotiated and settled, there will be nowhere for them to works anyway! Welcome to Africa!

      ben.alexander.16144 - 2012-11-14 10:37

      Read this.

      Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-14 11:09

      WOW, bussed in "seasonal workers" from CT and refugees from e/cape? AND they even beat up the workers from the area that are NOT seasonal?

      Kawasaki1985 - 2012-11-14 12:16

      @ Lucky - Having a name like Joema(t) in the Cape and drinking can be a problem.

  • aspruyt - 2012-11-14 09:08

    Is it just me or is the striking guy in the picture drunk?

      ben.alexander.16144 - 2012-11-14 09:44

      Lekker geplak!

  • ansie.fourie.940 - 2012-11-14 09:09

    In die Beeld het sy hulle salueer en nou smeek sy stop die optrede. Sy is 'n twee gat jakkels wat nie waar wat sy wil he nie

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-11-14 09:12

    Ok, pay them R150... Watch how quickly the wine farmers start mechanising and they lose their damn jobs permanently...

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 09:58

      @timmy.khethani: Tell me what is better: Working for R800 or working for nothing while a machine does double what you can do in half the time? It is called demand and supply. Labor gets to costly, other options become more economically viable. It is basic simple economics.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 10:22

      @timmy.khethani: Google grape harvester and hold on to your seat. Google grape harvester and hold on to your seat. Might not be on its own but 1 driver can replace 20 pickers. So the farmer must have more sons to drive these pickers. Don’t think they will complain to much about that. Let us also not forget that wages are standardized by government. Of course we have loads of other Africans that are more than willing to work for that money. Now I ask you why become a grape harvester in the first place? Oh because there are no other jobs? That cause by the farmers as well? So production costs go up, labor costs go up, transport and so on go up but you can only sell a grape (The ones that have not been burned to ash of course) for so much. So we have to cut some costs somewhere. Where do you think that will happen? Of course there is plan “B”. Stop farming all together and do something with the land that is not labor intensive. Bottom line, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      francie.potgieter - 2012-11-14 10:26

      I agree R75 is not a lot, but what about all the other benefits that they receive. Free housing and in most places they still get some of their food for free every month.

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-11-14 11:09

      Because, trevor and Timmy - some of us spent decades in School in order to afford that kind of life and yese, maybe exploit others (like our domestics and gardners) who never went to school. How much are you paying your domestic or your gardner, ten Grand? Bring it closer to you. the domestics will next be on strike also for a better wage, then you will feel the pincht. Right now you guys can talk junk because this whole thing looks remote - it is the farmers against the poor labourers. Guys from Zim would gladly take those jobs!

  • heinrich.etsebeth - 2012-11-14 09:12

    Wahahahaa... seriously... "We cannot afford this sector to lose jobs" by negotiating higher wages which the farmers can not pay you are facilitating the down-scaling of jobs in the sector not securing it.

      JaredVN - 2012-11-14 09:54

      Exactly. The farmers' margins are pretty small, so a doubling in pay will only mean a halving of the labour force. Then those who burn down buildings today will be jobless tomorrow. Idiots.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-14 12:19

      Trevor.myburgh.12. This is a democracy and everyone is entitled to an opinion. To tell people to leave isn't for you to decide. To tell others to respect people isn't for you to say either. Respect is earned. Your infantile remarks about a boat and a helicopter shows you shouldn't be wasting your time here but rather further your education which is in dire need of attention.

  • koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 09:16

    That’s right, kill the country, cut your own heads off but don’t come and cry next year when you are dying of hunger.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-14 12:21

      Koos.vandermerwe.75. overseas lots of wine farmers are using machines in harvesting. It is bound to happen here too.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 13:02

      Not only that Jaqui. Invest in drone mining of near earth orbital asteroids. If it pans out (and I’m pretty sure it will) do you know what the return will be when one asteroid yields as much gold and platinum as is mined on this planet in one year? We are almost there, can’t wait. Invest now. It is the future.

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-14 09:19

    The honourable minister is confused. She say "we will continue to support the workers". Her deartment is Farming, Forestry and Fisheries. Oliphant is Labour. Petterson must support the farmers!! Promote your department and leave the others to run theirs.

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-11-14 09:20

    Minister of fishing, jeez, what next minister of booz.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-14 09:21

    So if she cannot do anything as a go between why is the minister of labour not there doing the job they paid to do or is it now run to zuma for more money for workers and then do a re determineation? Is this how labour negotions work now???

  • piet.lombard.5 - 2012-11-14 09:22

    All of a sudden there are more "FARM WORKERS" than a month ago. Taxi's must be scoring a lot....

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-11-14 09:55

      Not really, they were bussed in from the Eastern Cape and there is a lot of Sotho people as well from up North.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 10:25

      @timmy.khethani: I hate to break it to you but Susanna is right. Old cANCer tactic.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-11-14 09:22

    The minister was asked by the farmworkers to intervene and to speak to the president to escalate their demands,\ her spokesperson Palesa Mokomela its ok coming from Joemat but not from Helen!! Just remember when you speak to the President that you understand the whole concept of the farming business!!! Otherwise chat to Farmer.brown for some insight on how it all works before you demand a wage increase as there will be implications!!!

  • Daniel Mah - 2012-11-14 09:23

    will the farmers be able to sustain that

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 09:41

      ... or will it be cheaper to mechanize.

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-11-14 09:43

      Yes, they will be able to sustain that if they get taxed less on their produce and if they can fire workers who turn up for work under the influence of alcohol.

  • teresa.naicker - 2012-11-14 09:43

    Mr Zuma who doesn't deserve to be called President, while you are there, can you kindly discuss, a> the killing of farmers b> the increase in electricity that will also affect the farmers c> Also while you are there, can you please address this country as to what the effects of these wage increases you are going there to discuss, will affect the price of food for us normal people who don't strike for every blasted thing, pay your freaking taxes and e tolls, and build your big big house for you.

      willie.vanschoor - 2012-11-14 10:18

      Well said Teresa!!

  • corrie.botha.7 - 2012-11-14 09:44

    If they win..... I hope they understand that food will go up who will they blame next???? Can't they think!!!!!

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-14 09:45

    So now we have have the riots and public violence from miners now the farm workers, next the motor industry and maybe the domestics and what about the poor people? Madness continues till zimbabwe will look good to emigrate to.

  • JanGrimbeek - 2012-11-14 09:47

    If Government cannot create jobs for the plebs (as promised since 19 years ago), why dont they subsidise the current workers wages with another 10-13 %.

  • JanGrimbeek - 2012-11-14 09:48

    Nationalise the wine farms and share it with the nation, I'll have a bottle of Simonsig Mistelle thank you !!!!

  • roiyen - 2012-11-14 10:00

    She calls on workers \to stop the violence, to stop the vandalism,\ whilst Ehrenrich is inciting violent protest and destruction. How about calling for his arrest too Pettersson? The Malema wannabe needs to be jailed for inciting violence and damage to property.

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-11-14 10:00

    The ANC deliberately set out to provoke protests and violence and now Tina steps in to pretend that she and Jacob can sort it out. Tony meanwhile, who should be attending to his duties in the Cape Town City Council, roves the rubble strewn roads and highways of De Doorns and Bonnievale, stirring up more outrage and hatred amongst people who really should know better, but don't. If the ANC are so concerned about farm wages, conditions and immigrant workers, why not start with one of the 8 provinces that are under its control? Sorry Tina, we're not all as stupid as your voters.

      flysouth - 2012-11-14 10:23

      It is the national government which has set these minimum wages. Farmers comply with exactly that for most totally unskilled workers, pickers and the like, paying more only to those with useful and more valued skills - what else did the government think would happen when a minimum is set? This is how it works in every industry where government steps in to regulate wages, across the world. Of course R70 per day is too little - but the alternative may well be no job to go to at all - is this what they want? I feel that we are, as with certain sectors in mining, actually watching the destruction of an industry through demands that cannot economically be met. This is a reality that these workers appear not to comprehend. The alternative is mechanisation and automation which I am sure is possible in many areas of agriculture - this is likely to be the inevitable reaction from producers. Of course none of this unrest is truly about the wages or the workers - it is an engineered confrontation, pre-Mangaung and anti-DA and that is very typical of ANC tactics as we have noted numerous times.

  • stephanvdm84 - 2012-11-14 10:04

    Why doesn't she comment on the fact that these "strikers" were bussed in from other areas into Robertson, they intimidated the farm workers in Robertson, and hit them with samboks? There are various eyewitness accounts of this. This is nothing more than a political ploy, Marius Fransman and Tony Ehrenreich should be held accountable for endangering the families in that town, instead of hiding away behind their high walls.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-11-14 10:05

    They simply don't have a clue. Higher wages, less profit, less profit, less workers, less workers, more unemployement, more unemployment, more crime and less food. I can see why farmers are moving to other parts of Africa as the stooges don't know what they are doing at all. Noyt even an inkling. And at this rate, Zuma is still going to need his bunkers.

  • lex.holmes2 - 2012-11-14 10:07

    Higher wages = fewer jobs = more unemployment = greater unrest. Great strategy by the ANC, what a bunch of dimwits.

  • bart.mitchell.393 - 2012-11-14 10:08

    First she screws it up,now calls for the idiot's help, and will then blame Helen after these two clowns have really made it a nuclear bomb.Juju is quiet.......

  • UncleShep - 2012-11-14 10:10

    ....this sh*t doesnt happen on Bob's watch.....

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 10:35

      That is true,everything is dead there. Nothing can happen.

      UncleShep - 2012-11-14 10:45


      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 10:49

      LOL at Bob's place.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-14 11:15

      Well of course not, you get beaten up, chucked in jail, or killed if you go against mad Bob.

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-11-14 10:10

    Why does it have to take an uprising, for the minister, president or unions, to hear the peoples plight?

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 10:34

      You assume they care. Yes they do care, about their BMW’s, Mercs and a little free publicity in the media.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-14 10:10

    Much more interesting and participatory than "refusing to be searched at a Swedish airport because of embarrasing sex toys in luggage and resulting in the cost of a chartered plane @ R250,000.00 of tax payers funds".....neh? Strike a day keeps the doc away AND INVESTORS

  • msturmair - 2012-11-14 10:22

    what amazes me, government offer learnerships for sa people to qualify in order to earn higher salaries, whats the bet none of them are qualified with certificate to farm and now they demand higher salary, like the rest of them in south africa all demanding for higher salary, none of them has a certificate to proof they are qualified, why the hell study further......time i demand for higher salary without qualifications

  • candy.blow.96 - 2012-11-14 10:38

    Europe and America has been through this, they realised that they were on a hiding to nothing, so they started machanising there farms, less staff higher yileds in shorter space of time, a tomato farmer can now harvets a ton of tomatooes in 20 minutes with one machine and one operator, the farmer explained it was not his intention but rising labour costs drove him to it, so he had to lay off just over 250 workers and there families. Time workers realised its a privilage to be employed and having a farm as a side business know we offer many extra benefits to our workers which they forget quickly, yes agree look at wages but do not become ridiculous.

      abdulbaith.sayegh - 2012-11-14 10:57

      This is not Europe nor America. This is Africa where Europeans stole the land from its original owners.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 11:16

      Jo Egyptian go read up on history here in SA before you talk of thing you have no idea about. You’ll be surprised at what you find instead of listening to propaganda. You’ll be surprised to know that most of the land where traded for. Maybe you’ll be surprised to hear how the white woman, men, children and babies were killed by the blacks since the 1800. How about the fact that 50%-60% of all land now resides in black (all be it idle) hands. Strange, you should know all about popular propaganda and how it works.

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-11-14 11:22

      He might be Egyptian Koos, but go look on your world map where Egypt is, in Africa, he is a child of this vast rich continent. You are not! So drop your xenophobic replies towards the original inhabitants of this continent and leave before its late baas vandermerwe.

      koos.vandermerwe.75 - 2012-11-14 11:50

      @william: I'm not a child of Africa? Just your opinion old friend. Yes, xenophobic was a problem to my ancestors back in the day but yet here we are. We have survived the African darkness, we have survived the English and countless other obstacles. We have prevailed. I would love to show you some recurring point in history but I’m afraid you won’t like it. Don’t worry, I’m going north where I’m welcomed. I love Africa for your information but this South Africa, I’m afraid can’t be saved.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-14 12:34

      Abdulbaith.sayegh. Can't you people come up with nothing new? Geez it must be tiring wanting to do along and having nothing worth while to say.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-14 12:37

      William. letsong.5 Hop off tho Egypt then and go and claim some of it as yours. They'll kick your ass all the way to the Orange River. Child of Africa!!!!. LOL.

  • francoisjacques.malan - 2012-11-14 10:40

    These workers earn minimum wage, set by government, but during harvest get extra for each basket they pick. That is how they earn the bulk of their wage. Much the same as waiters, minimum wage plus tips! Just wanted to clarify.

  • fanie.oosthuizen - 2012-11-14 10:57

    En jou stupid minister, wie gaan pa staan vir die hoër uitgawes wat die boere moet dra? Maar dit gebeur wanneer landbou geen beskerming van die regering kry nie.

  • nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-11-14 11:05

    Is wage determination not a competency of the Dept of Labour rather than the Presidency? Whose fooling who here?

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-14 11:13

    Well Zuma doesn't know what the hell is going on anywhere, and doesn't care to know either. What the hell will speaking to him help? How about the Ministers speaks to the farmers and the employees? (The people who are actually involved in the dispute)

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-11-14 11:28

    Here is a Minister who has failed in her ministry on a massive scale trying to resolve the behaviour and demands of idiots!!The blind lead the blind!

  • hercules.d.plessis - 2012-11-14 11:30

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-14 11:43

    That should be funny. Two idiots having a meeting about something they know nothing about. Will they both be wearing fur?.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-14 13:39

      LOL..... Fur? Well we don't know, but be assured they'll make an occasion of it anyway. She's probably out right now looking for a new dress.

  • drmzindec - 2012-11-14 16:09

    All you guys saying this is your land?! WTF are you talking about, its not YOUR land it will never be, even if all the whites leave it will still not be YOUR land you moron, its hasn't been your land for the last 520 years. Get over it, just because you are uneducated and poor doesn't mean the rest of us are lazy and did nothing with our lives. Kill me for not buying a R500 t-shirt, not shopping at Woolworths to have enough money to buy my own land. We are a 3rd world country, farming and mining is our main trade. Shut it down see how you fair. I have enough money to leave and go back to my European homeland you will be stuck here to see South-Babwe born. Now you burn those peoples only income? Those wine boere looks after their people, they build schools, houses, pay for their education, and all of that is free for the people! Where the government failed they stepped up, and this isn't even their country! HOW SELFISH OF THEM! Get over your racist thinking and think where you went wrong, stop striking, stop being scared and tell your boss you are unhappy. No you want to burn the country, burn the schools, burn the farms where your food comes from, burn the mines where the country money comes from, agh why not lets even burn our fellow black african while we at it. Zuma wants a nice house: 200 million / 50 000 per rdp house = 400 houses 200 million / 100 000 per job per year = 200 jobs How does that not make sense to you people? Go look at what your are burning!!!

      glenn.diniz1 - 2012-11-14 22:46

      If any of you saw Carte Blanche on Sunday, you will understand how valuable our farmers are. The Congo has had zero comercial farming there in the last 100 years since the French settlers left the country and left the local folks to look after their own land. What happened since then ..... Nothing. No farming, no contribution to the economy, no employment, no roads, no schools, no hospitals. That governement has realised the huge mistake they made being arrogant and not wanting help and have invited " white South African farmers" to kick start Congo Agriculture. Their first harvest off a quarter of their fields has yielded 350 tons of maize. Now if Africa is only for "black africans" why are our black brothers not as succesfull in farming. Our black brothers are too arogant and ignorant to work at increasing their skills at the work place. I know many black farm foreman who are very succesful because they have adopted the same hard work ethics of white farmers. I believe all South Africans should be proud of our Farmers who work unbearable hours and run the risk of being shot, slaughtered, raped and killed to put food on all our tables. All i can say is " Thank you SA farmers, without you we would have deffinately been a" Congo" in zumaville.

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