Many farmers have
initiated practices of charging for grazing in a response to the Labour Tenants
Act and minimum wage legislation on farms. Obeg Masondo, who lives on a farm
outside Utrecht, talks about the impact of this.
This is the place I live.
We crop and we do it ourselves. In terms of grazing, we have cattle but now we
rent land for them to graze. We have receipts for the rental. The farm owner
pays us and writes down that we are renting now and he deducts his money. We are
not benefitting because once he pays us, he takes some money from us. He writes
down that he is taking the money - he takes R15 for a cow and R5 for a goat. The
rental is having a bad impact on us - it’s killing us.
Me, I feel that we are
being abused, I don’t know about the others but I feel that this is really
abusing us. The money is taken by him, the employer. It’s being taken by the one
who is supposed to be giving it. In town you receive the money and leave with it
to go and pay somewhere else for accommodation. Our relationship is bad because
we don’t want to pay rent for these cattle. I even told him that it would be
better if he stops paying me and I can continue living off my stock like in the
There are papers that we
must sign when we arrive and finish work. But we do not sign - he is the one who
does that. If there’s a holiday on, say, a Monday, he’ll say we should work on
the Monday and take Friday off. But he records that we were absent on that day.
What I know is that the holiday should get counted in the wages but he’d just
say we weren’t at work. It would be better if there were others who could
confirm what I’m saying. There are plenty of them, plenty of them.
I don’t know what my
rights are because I think I am a labour tenant; I am a person who provides
labour in return for living here.