5 September 2003
The Human Rights Commission will engage various government departments and farming communities to ensure that good relations prevail between farm owners and their workers, and that the working environment is safe.
This emerged from a report released by the commission in Johannesburg this week, the result of two years of investigations and hearings into violations of the rights of farm employees.
During the hearings, farm workers raised concerns about illegal evictions, child labour, lack of health and education facilities, uncompensated long working hours and lack of job security.
The report recommends that a Farming Community Forum be established to enable communities to interact and address their differences in a holistic manner, and to address issues such as violence and illegal evictions.
The commission also recommends that government departments – including the departments of labour, housing, education, safety and security, health, agriculture and land affairs – become involved in addressing the challenges facing farming communities.
According to Human Rights Commission chairman Jody Kollapen, the commission will ensure that all the recommendations are implemented.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure that these communities enjoy their rights; they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
“We are still going to hold discussions with the various stakeholders about the implementation of our recommendations,” Kollapen said.