Land - WHYD RANDO by gyvwpsjkko


									 LAND                                                                                                         Society needs a i

Trekpass'says: Pack-up
and go!                                                                                                     WHYD
           who write for Weekly Mail, report on growing
           tensions on the Eastern Transvaal platteland.

P    ARANOIA on the platteland is
     likely to leave droves of labour
tenants and their families homeless in
                                               breastfeeding mother stares inquisitively.
                                                  Christina points proudly to a field of
                                               flourishing mealies, to spinach, toma-
the south-eastern Transvaal.                   toes, and cabbages all of which are used
   The spectre of trade union rights for       by the family. A traditional beer brewing
farmworkers and a Land Claims Court            hut, a maize storage room, a pen for her
is provoking a "general hysteria" among        livestock and five huts complete the
Transvaal farmers, says Ken Margo of           scene.
the Transvaal Rural Action Committee.             Christina cannot read and she has
   And this hysteria is resulting in a spate   never been further than Ermelo. Asked
of evictions which started late last year.     what she will do, she casts her eyes
                                               heavenward, throws up her hands and
    One of those facing eviction is            takes another sniff from her snuff bottle.               Mary de Haas,
Christina Hlatswayo, a labour tenant on           Abraham Dithlake, of the Farm-              Department of Social Anthropology,
the farm 'Amakhaya' near Piet Retief           workers Research and Resource Project,                 University of Natal.
(see David Goldblatt's cover picture).         believes the reason for the current spate
She takes out a crumpled piece of paper        of evictions lies in the fear of land claims
with four lines of spidery writing from                                                       is illustrated by a recent article in the
                                               by those labour tenants with generations'      journal "Effective Farming": "If you
her mourning dress. Signed by the farmer       old tenure.
on whose land she is a tenant, it is her                                                      can train, select and motivate workers
                                                  Last year, the Abolition of Racially        you need not fear trade unions because
'trekpass' — the eviction notice previous-     Based Land Measures Act provided for
ly used to allow evicted labour tenants to                                                    the teamates on your staff will be more
                                               the setting up of a Land Commission to         loyal to you than to any meddlesome
travel without being arrested.                 consider various land claims.                  shop steward or politico."
    In these post-dompas days, all the            Most of the evictions are aimed at              Kobus Kleynhans, deputy director of
note means to her is the loss of the land      those with the longest tenure, those who       the Agricultural Union, says the organi-
she and her family have worked for             have burial groundvon the farms, accord-       sation has not heard of the evictions. He
fifteen years.                                 ing to Solly Zwane, a representative of        said a solution to the crisis was to "enter
   The trouble started on Christmas Day        the African National Congress in the           into a normal service contract" where
last year when her cattle wandered onto        Eastern Transvaal.                             the tenants would be paid wages and in
land through a hole in the fence. They            Recently when lawyers asked the             turn would rent the land.
trampled part of his mealie field and ate      tenants to say what they thought was a             Joan Bekkers, a representative of the
stalks.                                        fair solution they replied that they           Rural Foundation, an organisation train-
   The farmer promptly loaded the cattle       wanted to stay on the farm and be              ing farmers in community development
onto a van and carted them to a butcher        allowed to keep livestock. Not one spoke       and labour relations, says the crisis
in Piet Retief. The Dirkiesdorp police         about wanting to own the land.                 stems from the fact that many farmers
intervened and transported the cattle to          Parliament may pass legislation this        are moving from a labour tenant relation-
a pound in Ermelo. After paying almost         session, which will grant farmworkers          ship to a wage relationship.
R1500 and a further R300 in transport          the protection and rights of the Labour            Transvaal Rural Action Committee's
costs, Christina got the cattle back, but      Relations and Basic Conditions of              Ken Margo says that the breakdown of
four were missing.                             Employment Act. Farmers fear trade             the traditional baasskap relationship
   In February the farmer gave her her         unionism growing among farmworkers.            between farmer and worker, increased
trekpass — three months to get off the            Boy Nzimande, whose grandfather              mechanisation and the fact that tracts of
land.                                          was born on the farm he must soon               land are being sold to forestry com-
   Way off the beaten track, you reach         leave, says that the farmer told him to        panies are also reasons for the evictions.
her compound via a maze of dirt roads          "go and report the matter to the Cosatu"           Odette Geldenhuys, of the Legal
and roughly constructed fences. From           when he complained . According to the          Resources Centre, says the only long-
the five houses, small children come           tenants, no unions operate on the farms        term solutions to the eviction problem is
running out to greet her. Young men set        they work on.                                   "for us, as lawyers, to make representa-
out chairs for us. In the background, a           The attitude of farmers to trade unions      tions to the land commission".           •


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