Farmers turn to Oliphant

Hundreds of farmers have asked the Labour Ministry to exempt them from the R105 daily wage.

Hundreds of farmers have asked the labour minister to exempt them from the R105 daily wage.

CAPE TOWN - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Thursday said her department has received a little more than 900 applications from farmers who want to be exempt from paying the new minimum wage.

The new daily minimum of R105 came into effect on March 1.

The farming sector in the Western Cape was hit by several weeks of strike action which began in De Doorns in November.

Farmworkers were demanding a daily wage of R150.

The illegal protest was marred by violence when protesters clashed with police, looted shops and torched vineyards.

At least three people lost their lives during the industrial action.

Farmers have warned of job losses because some cannot afford to pay the new amount.

Oliphant says only a fraction of the some 100,000 farmers in the country have applied for exemptions.

"I must say, 10 percent of those applications do not have supporting documents. We sent them back to the employers requesting more information."