Dept to help evicted farm workers

File Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Thomas Holder.

File Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Thomas Holder.

Farm workers facing eviction can now call lawyers for help, the rural development department said on Tuesday.

“Farm workers who have become victims of these evictions can call us,” department spokesman Mtobeli Mxotwa said.

“They will be put in contact with our lawyers who will protect them from such.”

On Monday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions alleged workers were being evicted from Western Cape farms following Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s announcement last month that land reform resolutions adopted at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung in 2012 would be implemented.

Among the resolutions was that farm labourers would own half the land on which they worked.

This would be “proportional to their contribution to the development of the land, based on the number of years they had worked on the land”.

Government intended paying for the workers’ 50 percent share.

The money would not be paid to the farm owner, but go into an investment and development fund, to be jointly owned by the parties constituting the new ownership regime.

Mxotwa said legislation to protect workers was being drafted.

“Presently, the department is busy with a legislation that will strengthen the protection of workers against farm owners,” he said, adding that it had yet to be presented to Cabinet.

Western Cape Cosatu spokesman Tony Ehrenreich said farm workers would not accept the evictions.

“Farm workers have declared that they are going to resist the evictions and Cosatu and unions support them,” said Ehrenreich.

“Cosatu will be using all of the lawful and moral means at their disposal to assist the farm workers.”

He warned farm owners to stop evictions, pending finalisation of the new land reform dispensation, or face protests.

Mxotwa called on both workers and employers to be patient.


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