Home News NC farmer instructed to move female workers to decent living quarters

NC farmer instructed to move female workers to decent living quarters

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A farm owner in the ZF Mgcawu District was instructed to move female farmworkers who were staying in horse stables to a more habitable living area.

File picture: Bheki Radebe

THE NORTHERN Cape MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Mase Manopole, said a farm owner in the ZF Mgcawu District was instructed to move female farmworkers who were staying in horse stables to a more habitable living area, during a Human Rights debate on Tuesday.

She stated that it was discovered that the farm owner at Twee Strome Boerdery was also deducting rent from their salaries for “rental accommodation” during an inspection that was conducted by departmental officials, who were accompanied by officials from the Department of Labour.

Manopole said the farmer was given a warning and immediately instructed to move the female farmworkers to an area where they could live in comfort and dignity.

She added that farmworkers and farm dwellers’ rights were encapsulated in the Bill of Rights.

“We have intensified our farmworkers campaign with a special focus on women and girl children who were in many cases abused and marginalised at farms across the Province.”

Manopole reiterated that the dismissals and evictions of farmworkers without following proper procedures were not permitted.

“Farmworkers have inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected. They have the right to freedom of association, including the right to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively. The rights of their children to access safe schooling and protection. The rights to a decent standard of living, health and well-being. Access to government services such as health, basic municipal services, social security and registration of birth,” Manopole said.

She added that women constituted a majority in the population stakes yet remain marginalised and discriminated against.

“It is an undeniable truth that women tend to be predisposed to such critical roles in society as peace-making, mediation and the nurturing of relationships. However, in many respects, women remain marginalised and more often fall victim to abuse, with some in the process paying with their lives.”

Manopole said everyone had a right to fair labour practices.

“This right extends to all farmworkers, whether they are permanent, temporary or seasonal workers. We have and will continue to intervene and improve the livelihoods of farmworkers in the agricultural sector.”

The MEC added that three anti-gender-based violence bills had been implemented in the legislation.

“These legislative reforms will among others, allow victims to make online protection order applications without being present in court.”

She said that protection order applications could be made online on a 24-hour basis on the online platform.

“As a deterrent measure for likely perpetrators, one of the bills makes provision for certain particulars of persons convicted of sexual offences to be made publicly available.”

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