WC farmworkers air grievances with labour minister over UIF access

Farmworkers from various parts of the province said that they were frustrated with the slow pace of processing and accessing of UIF benefits. Some said that they often waited as long as a year to receive funds.

Farmworkers protest during a UIF Indaba in Worcester on 6 May 2021. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Farmworkers in the Western Cape are hoping their issues with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will be addressed soon.

Women on Farms Project hosted a UIF Indaba in Worcester on Thursday day with women from different parts of the province.

They were joined by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi via video link.

Those in attendance highlighted their concerns about accessing their UIF benefits, especially during the off-season when they need the money to survive.

Farmworkers from various parts of the province said that they were frustrated with the slow pace of processing and accessing of UIF benefits. Some said that they often waited as long as a year to receive funds.

Other issues raised were the lack of staff at some offices.

Barbara Beukes from De Doorns said that at the local office there were only three staff members who assisted a limited number of people, while others were turned away.

"When we went there last week, there was no electricity. Why didn't they pay the electricity [bill]? Who's fault was that? There's only three people there."

Danielle de Witt from the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) said that there was no assistance in Robertson at all but when officials were in the area, the services were poor and delayed.

"If the people are coming there, they don't care. The people are getting dates, long dates and the people are struggling nand they don't get their money. So what must we do about that now?"

The minister has indicated that his department would look at ways of addressing the issues.

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