Perennial farm workers’ exploitations the order of day

NTWANE – Perennial exploitation and abuse of the rights of farm workers at farms around Marble Hall and Groblersdal towns in the Ephraim Mogale and Elias Motsoaledi Local municipalities continue to occur without any form law enforcement efforts against the practice.

The latest incident was on Friday, 30 April 2021, just a day before Workers Day, which is annually commemorated on 01 May.

A group of labourers at a farm popularly known as Hertzog’s by the local Ntwane community in Dennilton outside Groblersdal alleged they were dismissed from their duties for asking relevant questions regarding their employment conditions and remuneration packages by the farmer.

The group, made up mainly of women from Ntwane Village, was recruited to work on the farm by someone from their village who also acted as their labour broker.

The farm workers claim that they paid a meagre R80 per day and the labour broker, who recruited them, deducted R30 from the R80 as transport fee for taking them to work at the back of his bakkie.

“When we raised our dissatisfaction with the labour broker who recruited us into the farm work about all these issues affecting us, he became aggressive and accused us of trying to sabotage him. He paid us the weekly R250 and told us not to come back to work as he could not work with people like us,” said one of the farm labourers, who wanted to remain anonymous.

The farm workers at the farms neighbouring the two towns of Marble Hall and Groblersdal have for years raised concerns over the treatment they received at the establishments that mostly hire them on a seasonal basis.

Most of the residents in these rural areas are unemployed and dependent of seasonal farm work for sustenance of their livelihoods.

Attempts to get a detailed breakdown from the Department of Employment and Labour in Limpopo on how farm workers should be remunerated by farmers were not successful at the time of going to press.

Seun Mogotji, a community leader, said people continued to be treated like second class citizens in their own country and what was worse was that fellow black Africans who knew firsthand the living conditions of those poor farm workers were at the forefront of leading their exploitation.

 

Thapelo Motseo

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