After appearing hours late for a press briefing in Beaufort West last month, land and agriculture minister Lulama Xingwana gave guarded responses to TAU SA’s memorandum to the Department of Agriculture, and accusations that she used “hate speech” at the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children function in Pretoria – the two main reasons the briefing was called.
According to Xingwana, her department is in the process of formalising a response to TAU SA’s memorandum and that the written response would be sent to the union. She also refuted the “hate speech” accusations.
Though she was unwilling to reveal how she obtained information concerning the abuse of women on farms – she said she would only reveal her source to the Human Rights Commission – one of her officials told Farmer’s Weekly it was obtained from Women on Farms, an organisation that has become notorious for making damaging gross generalisations against the agricultural industry.
The minister reiterated her position on what she called the “terrible conditions” to which farmworkers, and especially women, are subjected and said it was time the Human Rights Commission looked into these conditions.
Last month TAU SA issued a memorandum which, it said, deals with areas that need to be tackled in order to reposition SA commercial agriculture against the background of deteriorating production and market conditions.
After the briefing, Xingwana handed over an amount of R9 610 639 to 243 members of the kwaMandlenkosi community in Beaufort West. The compensation served as restitution for tenancy rights lost in the early 1960s. The community chose the Standard Settlement Offer amount of R31 919 per tenancy right lost.– Glenneis Erasmus