MEC tackles problems facing farmworkers

The Western Cape Agriculture Dept. has drawn up 13 solutions to challenges facing the troubled sector.

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg inspects a farm which was torched during a farmworkers strike in Ceres. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Agriculture Department on Wednesday said it has come up with more than a dozen ways to ensure another farmworkers strike does not happen again.

Hundreds of employees downed tools earlier this year to demand better wages.

The strikes often turned violent resulting in the destruction of property and several deaths.

The Labour Department has revised the minimum wage to R105 a day, but it is believed many workers are still upset because they want R150.

Months after the strikes, Western Cape Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg has drawn up 13 solutions to challenges facing the sector.

He said he wants farmworkers to enjoy better living conditions and wants to boost productivity and relations.

A survey is now also underway.

Van Rensburg said they need to know how many farmworkers are based in the province and what their circumstances are.

He said they will also be hosting social meetings for farmers and their workers to discuss the agriculture sector.

A toll-free complaints number will also be set up and the department's internship programme will try and encourage jobless youths to work on the farms.