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More farmers applying for wage exemption

The DA is worried by the high number of farmers applying to be exempt from the new minimum wage.

A farmworker on the job on the outskirts of Meyerton in the south of Johannesburg, Tuesday, 8 January 2013. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - There has been a significant spike in the number of farmers applying to be exempt from the new minimum wage, the Democratic Alliance (DA) revealed on Wednesday.

The Labour Department on Tuesday announced it received 1,432 applications.

Nearly 600 of them are from Western Cape farmers.

The new minimum daily wage of R105 a day came into effect on March 1, following several months of violent strikes by farmworkers.

The DA's Andricus van der Westhuizen said over the last six years, the department received about 60 applications for exemption each year.

"It is also significant to note that the number of applications from the Western Cape makes up almost 40 percent of all the applications received throughout the country. That is probably because the Western Cape is known as the labour-intensive agricultural area."