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Oversight committee finds minimum wage not paid on some farms

Mmadira Phetoe of Robega near Rustenburg received 11 goats from the North West government as part of reducing poverty and promoting agriculture. ANA Stringer

Mmadira Phetoe of Robega near Rustenburg received 11 goats from the North West government as part of reducing poverty and promoting agriculture. ANA Stringer

Published Jul 3, 2022

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Cape Town - The joint parliamentary committee has found that the minimum wage was not paid on some farms during an oversight visit in North West over the weekend.

The portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development as well as employment and labour conducted a joint oversight on three farms in Matlosana Municipality to assess the living and working conditions of farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants on Saturday.

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The joint committee said it visited Bona Bona Game Farm and found that the farm was non-compliant with some of the legislation impacting farm labourers.

“The areas of non-compliance included the non-payment of the standard minimum wage, and they were not compensated at the correct rate for overtime worked on a Saturday or Sunday,” the committee said.

It also said the farm was also not compliant with the payment towards the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Bona Bona Game Farm has been given 14 days to rectify the areas of non-compliance and the Department of Employment and Labour will be following up with the farm.

“This visit must be seen in the light that we want better living and working conditions for farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants,” committee chairperson Mandla Mandela said.

The committee said it found 52 families were relocated to Hartbeesfontein farm from the surrounding farms when they were evicted.

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The farm was bought by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, but there were no houses to accommodate the families.

There were some temporary units and shacks with no water, electricity or sanitation.

“The committee after engaging with the beneficiaries found that some of them were happy here whilst some still wanted to go back to where their loved ones were buried.

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“The committee requested the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to engage with the Department of Human Settlements and the municipality to fast track the building of houses and the delivery of services to the area.”

Meanwhile, the committee found families were living in deplorable conditions in dilapidated mud and iron structures with no running water, electricity or sanitation on Beatrix Farm.

The farm was visited after the MPs complained at the stakeholder engagement on Friday that the department was dragging its heels in assisting the farm owners.

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The 642 hectare farm was acquired in 2014 for 13 families who lived there since 1952.

The beneficiaries appealed to the committee to intervene and to fast track the approval of the business plan that was submitted by the provincial office to the national department.

“The approval of the business plan and the funding will assist them to build houses, ablution facilities, purchase production infrastructure and be able to start growing crops and live stock.

“The department responded that the project was earmarked for funding in the current financial year 2022-23 through its Land Development Support Programme.”

Cape Times

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