Journal Articles

  • Manganeng, L (2009). ‘Farm committees make a difference’. South African Labour Bulletin Vol 33 No. 1 April/May 2009.

Abstract – Despite improved laws to govern the lives of farm workers and farm dwellers many farmers still duck and dive around people’s rights. This article tells how a farm committee programme is starting to turn this around.

  • Naidoo, L and Manganeng, L (2005). ‘Can a law determine a better living’. South African Labour Bulletin Vol 29 No. 5 October/November 2005.

Abstract – The Department of Labour (DoL) had hopes that the new minimum wage legislation for farmworkers would help to remedy poverty in the rural areas. Lali Naidoo and Lebo Manganeng use a survey to evaluate how successful this policy has been.

  • Naidoo, L., Klerck, G. and Manganeng, L (2007). ‘The ‘bite’ of minimum wage : enforcement of and compliance with the sectoral determination for farm workers’. South African Journal of Labour Relations.  Vol 31 No. 1 pp 25 – 46.

Abstract – The research on which this paper is based reveals the complex and differentiated outcomes of a statutory minimum wage. The primary objective of this research was to determine the extent to which the Sectoral Determination for Farm Workers is implemented on selected farms in the Eastern Cape. The experiences of farm workers are largely absent from existing studies of minimum employment conditions in the agricultural sector. Following a brief overview of the provisions in the sectoral determination, this article outlines some of the problems associated with the enforcement of statutory minimum wages, considers the impact of statutory minimum wages on remuneration and labour relations, and tracks changes in wage levels before and after the introduction of the sectoral determination. The most salient findings of the research include the following: First, farmers are complying with the provisions of the sectoral determination on a selective basis. Second, although wages have increased, a significant portion of the workers interviewed still did not receive the minimum wage. Third, the sectoral determination has not fundamentally altered the working, living and tenure conditions of farm workers. Finally, farmers seem able to absorb rising wage costs through selective compliance, work intensification, increased deductions and a strategic use of female and casual labour.

Unpublished research documents

  • ECARP. 2013. Continuity and Change: Personal Accounts of Five Farm Dwellers on the Impact of Social, Political and Economic Changes on Farm Workers and Dwellers.
  • ECARP. 2012. Organising Farm Workers and Dwellers: Grassroots Mobilisation – This booklet looks at the potential impact that farm workers and dwellers, when organised, can make to improve their working and living conditions and skewed power relations on farms. The starting point is that using alternative ways of organising, farm workers and dwellers can be mobilised and can contribute to meaningful rural development and agrarian reform. The farm committee programme (FCP) of the East Cape Agricultural Research Project (ECARP) is used as a practical example. The ECARP FCP not only demonstrates the possibility of building the organisational capacity of farm workers and dwellers, but also shows that this constituency can play an active role in effecting change in the agricultural sector.
  • ECARP. 2011. The Impact of Global Warming and Climate Change on Small-scale Farmers.  


Book Chapters

  • Klerck, G and Naidoo, L. (2011). ‘Minimum wages for farm workers’. In Ruiters, G (ed) The Fate of the Eastern Cape: History, Politics and Social Policy.  Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  • Klerck, G and Naidoo, L. (2003). ‘In Search of Greener Pastures: Trade Unionism in the Agricultural Sector’ in Barchiesi, F and Bramble, T (eds) New Perspectives on South African Trade Unisonism. London: Ashgate. – This chapter looks at trade union organisation in the agricultural sector. The challenges confronting the unions in agriculture are situated in the context of the sector’s role in the national economy and the living and working conditions of farm workers. The confluence of increasing centralisation and deregulation of the agricultural sector is a central feature of this context. Attention then shifts to a brief historical perspective on trade unionism in the agricultural sector. The paper highlights the dearth of explanatory frameworks to account for the nature of union organisation among rural workers, and looks at more recent attempts at organising in agriculture with specific reference to farm workers in the Eastern Cape. The research shows that the unions need to formulate innovative, multi-faceted strategies linking broader socio-economic and political concerns to working conditions on the farms.
  • Naidoo, L. (2011). ‘Poverty and Insecurity of farm workers and dwellers in post-apartheid South Africa’. in Hebink, P and Shackleton, C (eds) Reforming Land and Resource Use in South Africa: Impact on Livelihoods. London: Routledge. – This chapter focuses on farm workers and dwellers on white-owned commercial farms in post-apartheid South Africa. It examines the effects of social redress policies on the working and living environments of workers and dwellers since 1994 and argues for greater synergy between the various forms of protective measures. The intricate links between the sites of production and social reproduction necessitates a holistic approach to land and labour issues. This synergy gains importance in the context of neo-liberalism and the market-driven premise of the allocation and distribution of resources. Neo-liberal land reforms and low minimum wage standards have failed to significantly alter working and living conditions of people living on commercial farms in South Africa.
  • Naidoo, L. (2011). ‘Social Mobilisation of Farm Workers and Dwellers in the Eastern Cape’. In Helliker, K and Murisa, T (eds) Land Struggles and Civil Society in Southern Africa.New Jersey: Africa World Press. – This chapter deals with the conditions and struggles of farm workers and dwellers in the western part of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. Farm workers and dwellers living and working on (white-owned) commercial farms, remain one of the most marginalised social groups in South Africa. This state of affairs is entrenched by weak social protection measures, ineffective enforcement and above all, the lack of organisation among farm workers and dwellers. This set of factors combines to cement the secondary labour market status of farm workers and dwellers. Changes in the land and labour policies have failed to overcome discrimination and inequalities in rural labour markets in post-apartheid South Africa. Instead what is emerging is a deepening of the segmentation between different categories of worker and between workers and dwellers.
  • Naidoo, L. (2004). ‘Integrating Land Rights, Tenure Security and Sustainable Rural Development: Farm Workers and Dwellers in the Makana District- Eastern Cape’, in Roth, M. et al (eds), National Land Tenure Conference Finding Solutions , Securing Rights, Butterworths: South Africa. – This perspective is based on the work of ECARP with respect to the implementation of socio-economic rights on commercial farms in the Makana District of the Eastern Cape. It highlights the experiences and some of the lessons learned with implementing land reform in rural areas, in particular among farm workers and dwellers and those who have been evicted from farms. It looks at the context – in terms of implementing law and policy on farms – in an attempt to highlight farmer hostility towards the land reform programme; deals with issues relating to farm workers and dwellers and participation in development processes and ECARP’s experience with regard government interventions in the farming sector.

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