R3000 more for worker who got R1000 and a packet of tobacco

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

The North West Department of Labour has finally settled on a slightly better severance package for Molungu Moalodi.

Yesterday the department ordered farmer Koert Groblaar to increase his payout to Moalodi to R4000, from an initial R1000 and a packet of tobacco.

The farmhand has worked for the Groblaars for 47 years, looking after cattle on the farm Vlakkoppies, near Mafikeng.

But Groblaar argued that the 67-year-old man had only worked for him for the past 15 years and was previously employed by his father, from whom he inherited the farm.

Moalodi's plight was taken over by the Labour Department after Sowetan published the story.

The R1000 and packet of tobacco story stunned readers, prompting some of them to write letters.

Labour Department spokesman Kgomotso Sebetso said that Moalodi's severance pay was calculated from 1997 to February 28 this year in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act

"We could only go as far back as 1997 because that is the time when the Basic Conditions of Employment Act was enacted," Sebetso said.

He said the law did not apply retrospectively, but was applicable only from the date it was promulgated.

Sebetso saidthe department wanted to draw the attention of farmworkers to the existence of Sectoral Determination 8: Farm Worker Sector of the Act to avoid being fleeced.

"This law governs the employment of farmworkers in all farming activities in South Africa. The determination sets the minimum wages and basic conditions of employment for the sector.

"A farmworker employed in Area A, which covers urban areas, must receive R1041 a month and R989 a month in rural areas," he said.

But the advice from the department will not put a roof over Moalodi's head as the family had planned.

Lentikile, Moalodi's eldest daughter, said they were back to where they started. "My parents were hoping to build a decent house away from the farmer who had humiliated us for so long," she said.

She said the severance package would only cover their removal expenses.

Moalodi and his wife Dora are still living at the farm with their remaining three children.

When Sowetan tried to contact Moalodi, his wife said he was busy at the farm looking after the new farm owner's cattle.

The new owner, Aldo Geldenhuise, said Moalodi could stay on his farm as long as he likes.