The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development urged employers in the agricultural sector to adhere to employment regulations during lockdown as they “will not tolerate the violation of the rights of workers”.
Committee chairperson Mandla Mandela said farmworkers were a pivotal link in the chain that kept the nation healthy by ensuring adequate nutrition and food security.
He said the committee was informed that some conditions of employment of farmworkers were being infringed upon by employers and the necessary transport arrangements was not observed.
“Employers must also ensure that adequate arrangements are made for basic hygiene practice and other basic provisions for fighting the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Farmworkers and workers in the agriculture sector, in general, risk their health and those of their families to report for duty as essential workers. It is therefore vital that we care for them and their well-being,” Mandela said in a statement.
Mandela said employers should follow the recommendations for hygiene, social distancing and other measures necessary to keep farmworkers and others in the agriculture sector safe.
“We call on the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, as well as the minister of labour, Thulas Nxesi, to send out a strong message to farmers that we will not tolerate the violation of the rights of workers.
“We must work together to ensure their safety; we rely on them to feed the nation,” the chairperson said.