White farmers were better bosses, workers

via White farmers were better bosses, workers – New Zimbabwe 30/08/2015

MASVINGO: Conditions of work for most farm workers in the province have worsened since the government land seizure programme to the extent that some of them work in snake infested fields with bare hands and for almost no pay.

This is according to a research whose results were revealed during a ZimRights National People’s dialogue on social-economic and cultural justice held at a local hotel recently.

The research also revealed that farm workers were living under inhumane conditions since government embarked on the land reform programme.

Workers said they were poorly accommodated and operated under unspeakable working conditions. They said they were working without protective clothing and adequate equipment and were not being paid most of the times.

“We are now using bushes to relieve ourselves. The toilets are filled up and the new farmers are not building new ones,” one farm worker said.

“White farmers used to treat solid human waste with acidic soda so the toilets would not fill up, but our new employers are not doing the same and they have almost ignored the development of farm infrastructure,” added the worker.

Dr. Charlton Tsodzo, who carried out the research on the conditions of farm workers in the sugar plantations of Chiredzi and farms in Hurungwe last year, said over 20 families were sharing one pit latrine.

He added that most farm workers had no access to good houses, education and health facilities.

“The situation is bad in most farms. Some workers are not paid and are staying at the farm because they don’t have anywhere to go as most have worked on the farm most of their lives,” Tsodzo said.

“Some workers work without protective clothing, not even safety shoes in the snake-infested sugarcane plantations. They will be removing sugarcane leaves using bare hands, without overalls,” he added.

Some of the workers said they were living in shacks after the new farmers, mostly senior personnel from the uniformed forces, vandalised the farm compounds and sold the roofing material.

Zimrights National chairperson Passmore Nyakureba told the meeting that farm workers’ rights were not being respected and were seriously violated since black farmers took over previously white-owned farms.

He said the situation should be addressed before it got out of hand.

Female workers also claimed that they were not given maternity leave, let alone transport to go and deliver at clinics that are often far from their work place.


  • comment-avatar
    R Judd 8 years ago

    Who ever thought it would work out different than this?

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    Get away you FARM WORKERS. A bunch of thieves and sellouts. Who said farm houses are your homes? Instead of looking for rural homes you come settle at other people’s farms. I appeal to the government to give these farm workers MISHA. Ku farm handi kumusha. They are conniving with former white farmers destroying machinery left at farms. I will never support these farm workers especially those left by former white farmers. I failed even to get a tonne of maize cobs on my field because of the spirit of stealing in them. They go to the fields in the evenings and steal cobs in the centre of the field. Iwe nekusaziva uchitenderera round you think everything is fine. Oti mira ndipinde mukati, unofeinta.

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      iwezimbo 8 years ago

      They steal, cause like your boss bob, you treat your people like sh*t and don’t look after them. You deserve your position as a bad boss. Leading people respectfully, will earn you respect. Ask your boss bob, nobody respects him

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    former farmer 8 years ago

    hehe at Ngwekazi.

    I fed my workers every lunch time. I housed them in two bedroomed, lounge and kitchen houses and I paid them EVERY month. They did not have to steal to survive.

    The day I was forced off my farm I gave each of them double wages and they all cried at the departure of their boss ( and source of living )as we had chatted about the land invasions and I had told them clearly what was going to happen to them and the country.

    Oh and I employed 64 workers which with a family average of 5 makes that 320 people reliant on my WORKING farm for their well being.

    You sound like a cell phone farmer. I walked all my crops every day inspecting for pests, diseases and general agronomic problems. I drove my tractor and could do all the work I expected my workers to do. Can you ??????

    GOZ should give up and let us back onto our farms and you will see the country grow and proper within 18 months. That way, Ngwekazi you can go back to your cushy job in the city and enjoy the good time again. Farming is not a way of life shamwari, its a business and science.

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      Doris 8 years ago

      To damned true. You speak on behalf of the 4000 odd displaced farmers in Zimbabwe. Well said.

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    grabmore 8 years ago

    Surely if the workers see the big chefs stripping all the farm machinery and selling all the equipment then they copy that behaviour. Chefs can’t now cry that stealing is everywhere when they were the ones who got the ball rolling.

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    @ Former Farmer, that is how you got it wrong. You never taught the farm workers life after the farms because you were capitalising on their services. You made money out of these farm workers and now they are giving us (new farmers) problems. Now these farm workers are suffering from dependency syndrome. They are gonna live the rest of their lives in denial. Why didn’t you buy them houses if your were genuinely respecting their services? You wanted them near you that when they got old you will still use their children and grandchildren. That was not fair. And the reason why these farms were taken away from you is you did not want to share. How can one person own more than 5 000 hectares? For a start we don’t need 50 households. What for? With these sanctions we have nowhere to export our produce like you.

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      mark longhurst 8 years ago

      Ngwekazi, every time you open your mouth the world laughs at you, you have abused your position and zanoooo madmembership thinking that stealing a farm will be like finding a spirit on it that will just grow the crops and reap them for you…did you fail to pay your cousin and nephews and rip off your auntie…zanu created 1.5mill unemployed well trained agric labour force because they wouldn’t lick bobs rrrse–now you just blame it on sanctions—you are mad and stoopid.

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    grabmore 8 years ago

    Dear Ngwekazi. I see above you ask “How can one person own more than 5000 hectares?”

    Well, it is actually possible, believe it or not. How it works is the person spends say half a million of his own money and maybe borrows another million from a bank using some form of collateral and presents an excellent and scientific business plan to pay back the bank loan. It is stressful and risky. But the person then gets the title deeds, you see. And then the person works very, very hard for 20 years to build up the farm and make it successful. That is how one person gets to OWN more than 5000 hectares.

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    grabmore 8 years ago

    Hanzi. . Farm workers are destroying all the equipment left by the white farmer so now we are justi seated. Ha ha ha

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    Ngwekazi – you are funny! I love the way you are frothing away like mad, it brings joy to my heart. It is very obvious your brain was surgically removed when you joined Zanooo.

    OF COURSE the vast majority of the dreaded “white” farmers treated their employees well – actually paid them, built schools and clinics and gave them opportunities for advancement.

    I am so happy that it burns your arse for the truth to be told. You’d better get hold of your idiot Scoones to try and explain why things are “better” now – because we all know they aren’t.

    Ha! I am laughing at you!

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    Maugarbage sucks. 8 years ago

    You may think you own part of a farm, but title deeds mean nothing in Zimbabwe. If you keep up your poor performance, you may join the 90% unemployed sooner then you think.
    Of course a white farmers want to make money as much as the next man. However, whatever Bob told you, white people are generally more honest then Africans and more willing to share, and you are the example that confirms the rule.

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    Observer 8 years ago

    It appears the new farmer is disrespecting the farm workers more if he/she only provides one pit latrine for 20 families. I hope that one day he has need to use one of those latrines, accidently
    drops his expensive cellphone in it and has to make a determined effort to retrieve it!

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    Reverend 8 years ago

    Reading Ngwekazi is almost satirical, like he is stirring a pot that he knows is bad and just trying to (successfully)get a reaction from every one, because surely one who the English language like he does and the way he has written his bit cannot be so pathetically dumb to actually write what he has. Yet he still cleverly has shown the idiotic and evil mindset that has destroyed our most beautiful country. Surely Ngwekazi you are NOT serious really.

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    No, Reverend – he is dead serious! I have met many like him. And think of the fellow Scoones so beloved of the zanoid – literate but mad as a hatter.

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    former farmer 8 years ago

    KWV, you are spot on. I too have met many like this idiot Ngwekazi . As for Schoones, well he obviously did not travel the Chinoyi road pre 2000. It was a very busy road with trucks and trailers full of produce. Today it is a few pick ups with one or two bales of tobacco. No bags of grain. Heck go past new England farm, one of the finest ranches in Africa ( in its day ) and all you see are a few phovo trying to sell fishing worms and carrots. Maybe that’s Ngwekazi farm hehe.

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    Ngwekazi you are mad? Are you really a farmer or watangira kupenga pano? Be serious iwe. Zvadhakwa shamari, muchena ngaadzoke.