Free State Agriculture (FSA) reacts on the Wesselsbron saga
31 August 2017
Free State Agriculture (FSA) has mentioned at several occasions in the past that we will not defend the indefensible. The organisation’s stance is that everyone living and working on farms should have access to basic rights. FSA and its members, with dwellers and workers on their farms, confirm that we are subject to the prescriptions of the Constitution, Labour Laws and any other legislation that affects us directly or indirectly. We respect each other, communities and South Africa's laws. In addition, we drive agriculture within the context of the country’s laws.
Given the above mentioned, we respect the right of any one against whom allegations are made, to have a fair chance to state their case without being found guilty in the media prematurely, based on assumptions. In other words, let the law run its course without interference.
Correction of facts
The alleged guilty person is not a farmer in Wesselsbron, he only lives on the farm Driefontein in the Wesselsbron area. According to him, he is a labour broker.
During a meeting with the Department of Labour at the local Police station on 30 August 2017, the person stated this fact in front of his lawyer, the Department of Labour as well as FSA. The involved person is thus not a member of organised agriculture, and thus not a member of FSA.
Although FSA was able to distance itself from the unhappiness, we made ourselves available as facilitator, in an advisory capacity, between the broker, his legal representative and the department at a meeting at the Wesselsbron Police Station on 30 August 2017. FSA has no mandate to represent the broker.
The process started at 10h00, after which FSA withdrew and the parties involved negotiated until 20h00 to try and resolve the matter without prejudice to the rights of any one.
We believe the investigation must be completed as soon as possible on all levels. FSA recommended to the Department of Labour that guidelines should be compiled for seasonal workers with all the involved role players, including labour brokers, employers, recruiters like captains and foremen of the former Trust areas as well as the parents of children.
These guidelines should not just include wages, but also accommodation and the recruiting process. Provisions regarding piece work and the minimum wage should also be included in this.
If prosecution is instituted, it must also include the recruiter of persons, parents, captains and foremen - who have a share in this. High levels of unemployment causes various role-players to exploit people, which creates a bad image of farmers.
For more inquiries, contact
Henk Vermeulen, CEO of VL, on 051 4444 609
Farmer’s Weekly, proud media partner of FSA