Western Cape farm strike suspended

2012-11-14 18:35

Cape Town - Western Cape farmworkers will suspend their protests over wages and living conditions for two weeks, Acting Labour Minister Angie Motshekga said on Wednesday.

She said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) had consulted workers and it was agreed they would return to work on Thursday and desist from violence and vandalism.

The suspension was on condition that the sectoral determination for agriculture be looked at by the Employment Condition Commission next Wednesday.

This meant the R70 a day minimum wage for farmworkers would be cancelled and renegotiated.

Motshekga was addressing reporters in Cape Town, on behalf of Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, who was out of the country.

Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley have been protesting for more than a week about their wages, demanding R150 a day.

Most earn between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers so far.

Sixteen towns in the province have been affected by the protest action, which included blocked roads and burning tyres.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson described the labour action as a service delivery strike, and said workers in De Doorns, for instance, wanted housing and basic services.

She condemned those who said the matter was purely political.

"This is not a political matter. This an initiative of workers themselves. This is indeed a service delivery strike."

The labour department expressed condolences to the family of a farmworker killed in Wolseley on Wednesday morning.

"We are calling for an end to the violence and wish to appeal to the farmworkers to give us a chance to attend to all their demands."

False allegations

Western Cape police confirmed that a man was killed and five people were injured during protests in Wolseley.

Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID would investigate.

"The man died as a result of police action, but we cannot give more details of the incident," he said.

"Reports of a farmer being killed by a mob of farmworkers in the province are not true. Those allegations are false."

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said an investigator was on his way to the scene where the protester was shot to get more details.

"I can confirm that one person was killed. However we only have a report that three were injured. An investigator is on his way to gather more details."

Joemat-Pettersson said her state security and police counterparts, Siyabonga Cwele and Nathi Mthethwa, would "engage further in the matter".

"To give information now [on the death] would be very clumsy and irresponsible," she said.

A notice indicating the intent to call all interested parties to comment on the sectoral determination would be published by next Friday.

"I would also like to call on all the parties that have been involved in the current negotiations in the farms in the Western Cape to intensify their effort to resolve the current impasse," Oliphant said in a statement.

"The negotiations and the resolution should be pursued over and above the other efforts like re-looking at the sectoral determination, which process may take a while to conclude."

Joemat-Pettersson said the sectoral determination could only be revised once a year.

A revisal would affect all farmworkers across the country, regardless of produce.

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-11-14 18:38

    I hope those workers who possibly get their R150 per day, are happy when they start losing their other benefits because the farmers can't afford them anymore.

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-11-14 18:43

      R150 a day TCC fair go. any extras you will pay for from now on

      ngaka.sehlola - 2012-11-14 18:45

      what benefits?..pray tell.

      jonivdw - 2012-11-14 18:58

      Or their free water & lights or their free access clinics & schools or their paid leave.... Mechanization here we go..... Uemployment will sky rocket!

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-11-14 19:12

      - transport from towns, some have built schools/daycare facilities for use of by the workers, housing electricity water, on karoo farms pay plus groceries plus a lamb a month, transport to town for kids to go to school, parents to go shop, taking them to the private Doctor for treatment since the state hospital is to goes on and on

  • - 2012-11-14 18:43

    this is a sensible decision, just wonder who is pulling the strings

  • ngaka.sehlola - 2012-11-14 18:44

    no comment.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-11-14 19:29

      Then why comment?

  • deon.meiring - 2012-11-14 18:48

    "This is not a political matter. This an initiative of workers themselves. This is indeed a service delivery strike." What a joke!!! This nothing else but political. Why sit back and wait for people to loose lives, and sistain dammage before they act.....ANC you are running SA down a toilet.

  • maverick.generators - 2012-11-14 18:48

    Service delivery protest? What? LMAO....

  • SharonE - 2012-11-14 18:49

    Acting labour minister? Actors can be doctors, lawyers, and it seems ministers, too. Busy lady this Angie, minister of basic education, leader of the ANCWL, next in line to be mrs jacob, and now acting labour minister. Seems there is not a shoe she won't try on.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-11-18 19:02

      A case of a Jill of all trades and mistress of none?

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-11-14 18:49

    Why have I got the feeling that these workers are being manipulated?

      chris.holloway.5 - 2012-11-14 20:46

      not rocket science...ANC has to be seen to be doing they cause more trouble, and impress the feral masses.

  • eleanore.hill - 2012-11-14 18:49

    This is seriously dodge.

  • dave.robbins.3344 - 2012-11-14 18:49

    As a farmer, I have no problem with paying R150 a day to my staff - however, my product will jump in price from R24/500g to R34/500g. Consumers, are you prepared to pay that? Just asking.

      francois.j.botma - 2012-11-14 19:11

      @dave: you hit the nail on the head. Any employer can give as big a increase as you wish. That increase gets absorbed in the end product. That product cost more to all people of SA. We pay more or don't buy the product. If we don't buy the product the employer closes shop. The worker is unemployed!

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-11-14 19:35

      These people don't have the foggiest clue about economics. It's all about I want I demand, I will burn and destroy till I get it under the incitement of that criminal orginasations called the tripartite allience.

      dawn.oliver.9 - 2012-11-14 21:02

      Well thats the workers arent considering - or perhaps they still expect everything else for free. The patriarchal system with farm workers has to end so that they can grow up and start realising that in the real world we pay for everything and take responsibility for our own lives.

  • alex.whyte.33 - 2012-11-14 19:07

    Minimum wage in Malawi R10/day.

  • jerome.appollis.1 - 2012-11-14 19:12

    Acting labour min angie! *sigh* .... 1 1=7

  • qolani.masilela - 2012-11-14 19:15

    I don't see any reason why this must be a big issue, its not necessary to start a huge strike for a salary increase from R70 to R150. Now one person has lost his life for R150.

      Adil Smit - 2012-11-14 19:27

      But Mr Ehrenreich is happy. A sad state of affairs.

      Onke Mdingi - 2012-11-14 19:30

      'tis nothing but political campain/hogwash by ruling party.

  • jacques.dewet.98 - 2012-11-14 19:18

    more than 90% of the protestors do not even work on farms and are not even aware of what benefits additional the farmworkers get to their salaries such as free housing, free electricity, free water, additional food supplied by the farmers and transport to the towns weekly for shopping and medical appointments and in many cases scholarships paid to the children of the parents working on their farms. I am not saying that the workers should not be given an increase. But give them a choice of R150 p/d and then have to pay normal rent, electricity, water and transport and schooling for all their family members. Or earn less and not have to worry about all those expences. But, once again this is shown that the farm workers do not want to strike, but it is politically motivated to make the DA look bad. Why is this not happening in other provinces where the ANC is in control, yet those farm workers earn the same salaries. Come on mr President, is this how a democratic country should be run. Stand up for yourself and be a man, not a puppet on a string. What does this show the rest of the world about your Leadership abilities. South Africa could be the greatest place in the world to live in. If it shows true democracy and the leadership of the country is not controlled by the people they should be controlling. Come on President Zuma, show us that you are a fair and just man, striving to better our country. YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!

      sylvia.nortje - 2012-11-14 19:52

      Nooooo Jacques, please do not insult yourself, the President is way too self absorbed to appreciate your empathy and plea.... Dit sterf of dowe ore....

      dawn.oliver.9 - 2012-11-14 21:13

      Jacques, a very sane comment and I agree with it till .... well, Zuma can DO IT! That is positive thinking to the extreme - this man cant do it! The only answer is to get the likes of him out and someone who knows what he is doing and truly has the people at heart, to run the country. In fact I think part of the problem is that too many people have been told they can do it but not told they need the education and the wisdom and the determination and many other important qualities to actually get it done.

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-11-14 19:20

    We 'll be back !!

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-11-18 19:09

      It's not a question of you WILL be back, but a question of you will GO back-wards and even more backwards under the present government.

  • pat.louw - 2012-11-14 19:27

    Why is the LABOUR MINISTER out of the country, labour issues can be addressed here in the country not overseas or else where in Africa.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-11-14 19:49

      Shopping trip

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-11-18 19:10

      Probably on a shopping spree - or telling another country how to run their land. Pity they don't concentrate on their own South Africa first.

  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-11-14 19:28

    Give the increase, take away the freebies!

      Riaan Venter - 2012-11-14 19:37

      Hoor hoor ek stem!!!!

  • Adil Smit - 2012-11-14 19:32

    They just said on the news that the farmworkers haven't been told that the strike has been suspended. Hope Cosatu ( who did not organise the strike, did not bus in outsiders, did not encourage violence ) will find a way to tell the workers that have been shamelessly manipulated.

  • izan.botes.7 - 2012-11-14 19:37

    fire them all and sell the farms to the government and let them starve and all you liberals that have never run a farm in their lives keep your comments to yourself or start up a farm if your own.

  • Riaan Venter - 2012-11-14 19:39

    @jacqui!mmm laat ek gou sommetjies maak water werk uit op R8.00 n dag,krag R23.00 n dag,huur R166 n dag dan is daar nog grondbelasting en vullisverwydering meeste van hulle kry dit als plus kos verniet op die plase so hoeveel kry hul dan eintlik tel bymekaar dan maak jy ook gou sommetjies dan kry jy verder skaam hoor!!!!!

  • justin.b.whittaker - 2012-11-14 19:41

    Cape town and sick and tired of these pointless money wasting group strikes and suddenly all the fools wana strike.

  • justin.b.whittaker - 2012-11-14 19:48

    Im english u moron.why dont u go back to the bush were u come from.

  • justin.b.whittaker - 2012-11-14 19:50

    Im english u intelligent person u...Why dont u go back to the bush where u belong

  • bethuel.thwala - 2012-11-14 19:52

    Why racilaize about everything guys, if he was white the tune would be different, let us be patriotic, after all this is the only contry we have and it belong to all of us

  • justin.b.whittaker - 2012-11-14 19:56

    Yeah now u sing another tune huh...typical.this did not have to get violent but any excuse to burn things huh.pityful

  • Riaan Venter - 2012-11-14 20:15

    @jacqui!mmm laat ek gou sommetjies maak water werk uit op R8.00 n dag,krag R23.00 n dag,huur R166 n dag dan is daar nog grondbelasting en vullisverwydering meeste van hulle kry dit als plus kos verniet op die plase so hoeveel kry hul dan eintlik tel bymekaar dan maak jy ook gou sommetjies dan kry jy verder skaam hoor!!!!!

  • Martin Fortuin - 2012-11-14 20:25

    the people that have money they always have a lot so say i think R150 rand is still not enough if u look at what the people salary is that is in high post R25 000.00 rand and up but y must it be so a big thing just to give the farm worker R150 rand that is small coins

      michael.a.devilliers - 2012-11-14 20:36

      The amount of money you earn is proportionate to your level of education and contribution to the economy. And the increase: just means the end produce they buy from the farmers is more expensive, completely negating the increase. Oh and you can say goodbye to all the benefits the farmers used to provide - they will not pump another cent back into the community ever again.

      renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-11-14 21:23

      What do you think will happen to this country if everyone suddenly wants their salaries doubled? A farmer with 100 workers will have to pay R 165 000-00 more per month towards wages. That = R 1.98 million per year. Where do you think will the farmer get this money? This could force farmers out of business resulting in more unemployed people and more expensive foodstuffs.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-14 21:30

      We have been unable to educate people adequately beyond manual labour - and there are already 25% unemployed. We have been unable to develop business or industry to create enough jobs for all the people we have. It's a vicious circle with many underlying causes and no quick-fix. For every job loss in mining and agri, another 10 up and down the chain will lose theirs. As every earner in these sectors is already supporting a min of 4 other people, for every job loss, 40 people have no income. They can't spend so there's not even VAT revenue going back into the fiscus and so the State's revenues dwindle whilst at the same time the State has to support 40 more people for every job lost. Small coins turn into very big notes and those big notes are what you will be using to pay for a handful of potatoes very soon

  • cecilia.vanderwesthuizen.5 - 2012-11-14 21:19

    Please do not tell me this isn't a political matter... We all know that's a lie. Next?

  • quintin.beukes73 - 2012-11-14 21:22

    Kom nou plaas eienaars, laat vroulief die Prado inruil vir 'n chery tiggo en pappa vat die cruiser terug en kry 'n gonow of gwm... minder europese vakansies en los daai pierneef vir die ruperts.... gee die aarbeiders meer geldjies, komaan mamma, minder yoga klasse en meer community work, toe toe...

      jaco.beukman.5 - 2012-11-15 07:19

      First sane comment I read here.......... thanks

      quintin.beukes73 - 2012-11-15 22:11

      Dankie Georgie, ons moet net eers jou pappie van haar af kry...

      quintin.beukes73 - 2012-11-15 22:11

      Julle weet ek is reg... waarheid is 'n doring of hoe?

  • hannah.s.haven - 2012-11-14 21:24

    Not political my sweet white bum! ANC orderd it to stop, and the workers,,, no oops not workers. people who were driven there by busses jump like puppets and will stop now. Poor DA in the hotwater for not corecting this, how can they if they didnt started it

      jannie.kellerman.1 - 2012-11-14 21:54

      Hulle het die toi toiers nogal betaal om so mooi te dans en vuur te maak.

  • StreetRacer911 - 2012-11-14 22:08

    The question is how much money do you need to provide a family of four (or more) with 3 decent meals a day? Don't think R80 will cut it!

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-14 22:12

    Just what the ANC wanted....the end of the farmworker's future. Farmers have the tendency to survive any issue. We have and we shall overcome this issue again. The outcome would be that the poor will suffer again...high food prices and job losses. Again the ANC does not see the wood for the trees. Do we need a white board to draw the pictures?

  • Nicola - 2012-11-15 10:58

    On our farm the workers get free housing, electricity, water and weekly meat, flour and vegetables. They still earn over R100 a day. Not all farms pay bad,you must also think about the above mentioned,and what it would cost if you had to buy or pay for these items.Most farms in my area give this. Another thing, workers tend to buy on accounts and loan money from loan sharks, if they cant pay back the law requires their boss to deduct this from their salary. Maybe that's why some workers payslips are so little too. And believe me, dept is a huge problem in farm areas. I agree that workers can't live on such small amounts, but what's going on is out of control! By burning fields they will cause some to loose work, not get xmas money or pay. What will happen to these families?

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