The living and working conditions of farmworkers, farm dwellers and farmers
In November 2020, the National Assembly mandated the Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to conduct comprehensive oversight work on the living and working conditions of farm workers, farm dwellers and farmers.
The resolution recommended that both committees monitor progress made by the government’s commitments towards improved living and working conditions in the farming communities, including work done by different stakeholders in the agricultural sector; conduct public hearings with key stakeholders; undertake an impact assessment of legislation affecting farm workers and make recommendations for legislative amendments; in consultation and with the express consent of the relevant Select Committee/s in the National Council of Provinces, collaborate with these Committee/s in carrying out the tasks at hand and exercise those powers in Rule 167 that may assist the Committees in carrying out their task.
A deadline by which the two Committees had to report back to the National Assembly was on or before 30 November 2021.
However, due to Covid-19 restrictions and other committee work constraints, a request was made (and subsequently granted) for the deadline to report on the matter to be extended until 30 November 2022.
In undertaking this work, Parliament held a series of engagements and scheduled a programme of oversight visits across the country:
Oversight visits - Mpumalanga
18 March 2022: Proposed draft joint programme
Since the advent of democracy in 1994, there has been legislative and policy progress made in terms of improving the living and working relations between the farmers, farm workers and farm dwellers, such as the Labour Relations Act, Extension of Security Tenure Act (ESTA), Unemployment Insurance Fund, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act. In addition, there is the implementation of Sectoral Determination 13 that deals with the farming sector and provisions related to prescription of minimum wage for farm workers. Despite this, the farming community, farm workers and farm dwellers, and farmers are faced with persistent challenges of crime, violence, gross violations of human rights, lack of adequate housing facilities, lack of access to clean running water.
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"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.