One the key measures being taken by government to protect farmworkers is establishing a Land Rights Management Facility “that will provide legal representation to victims of all forms of land rights infringements”, land and agriculture minister Lulama Xingwana told parliament recently.
Xingwana said another key measure is establishing a comprehensive eviction monitoring system that will include a call centre with a toll-free number. Government is establishing a panel of mediators at provincial and district level to deal with evictions and human rights infringements on farms. Xingwana said the Department of Land Affairs is to separate policy dealing with the management of evictions from that dealing with the provision of security of tenure for farmworkers. F or the latter, new legislation is being drafted to provide tenure security to farm dwellers through a redistributive process, she said.
In the meantime, existing legislation for land redistribution can be used to provide tenure security to farm dwellers and farmworkers. Xingwana said some of the current legislation dealing with the prevention of illegal evictions and unlawful occupation of land is being transferred from the Department of Housing to the Department of Land Affairs, following a Cabinet decision. Later, however, new legislation incorporating legislative provisions for the management of evictions is to be included in the Department of Land Affairs’ legislative programme for 2008/09, the minister added. S he said government would work together with all farmers’ unions, including Agri SA and the National African Farmers’ Union. “We all have responsibility to guarantee the rights of farmworkers [and] to take responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all farming communities,” Xingwana said. – BuaNews