Die gebruik van gevangene arbeid in die Wes-Kaapse landbou

Goussard, Yvette (2000-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The research problem of this study is "The use of prison labour in die Western Cape agriculture". The aim of this qualitative-historical study was to determine how this system of labour was established, functioned and eventually came to an end. To research this topic was not easy. Most of the documentary sources have been destroyed. Therefore, the main source of information were interviews with the relevant prison wardens and guards, as well as farmers who used prison labour in the past. Prison labour played only a small part in the penal system of the Cape Colony before the nineteenth century. The focus of punishment was on the body of the criminal - inflicting physical pain. Since the early 1800's prisoners were used for the maintenance of roads and on work in Governmental gardens. Prisoners were rented ' . out to farmers, on an informal basis, since 1806. A formal system of prison labour, based on the principle of rehabilitating punishment, was introduced by the Governor John Montagu in 1843. For example, prisoners were classified according to their behavior, rather than their crimes. In 1888 free prison labour was abolished and a standard wage was introduced. The use of prison labour by private persons increased systematically after the Second World War. The reason for this was a growing labour shortage in especially agriculture. The system of farm prisons or so-called "outposts" was established to address this problem. In 194 7 the Landsdown Commission accepted the principle of farm prisons. The first farm prison was opened in 1953. The establishment of these outposts had a twofold aim: firstly, it supplied farmers with a constant source of labour. Secondly, it served as a deliverance for the state, as this would relieve the overcrowding in prisons and reduce costs. Between 1953 and 1988 a_total of thirteen outposts were established in the Western Cape. Farmers' unions carried the costs of building the prisons and were also responsible for their maintenance. The Department of Prisons was responsible for the appointment of prisonguards and their remuneration. A Central Outpost Committee was established that served as a link between the various farmers' unions and the Department. South Africa's policy on prison labour was in line with the United Nations' "Standard Minimum Rules" for the treatment of prisoners, having rehabilitation as main objective. However, this system of farm prisons clashed with the international trade ethos of the time. It was seen as "slave labour" that gave South African farmers an unfair competitive advantage. In 1988 prison labour was terminated and outposts were closed, due to the threat of sanctions and boycotts of South African agricultural products. The empirical evidence of this study largely supports the Marxist interpretation of punishment in society. According to Ma.rXism, punishment systems and prison labour serve the economic interests of the dominant classes. At the same time it also gives credence to the Weberian interpretation, in which the systematic monitoring and treatment of prisoners are a manifestation of the tendency towards increasing rationalisation in Western society.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die navorsingsprobleem van hierdie studie is "Die gebruik van gevangene arbeid in die Wes-Kaapse landbou". Die doel van hierdie kwalitatief-historiese ondersoek was om vas te stel hoe hierdie sisteem van arbeid ontstaan, gefunksioneer en tot 'n einde gekom het. Navorsing van hierdie onderwerp was nie maklik nie. Die meeste dokumentere bronne was reeds vemietig. Gevolglik moes hoofsaaklik staatgemaak word op onderhoude met hoofde en bewaarders van gevangenisse, asook boere wat destyds van gevangene arbeid gebruik gemaak het. Gevangene arbeid het 'n relatief klein rol gespeel in die strafstelsel van die Kaapkolonie voor die negentiende eeu. Die klem van straf was op die liggaam van die beskuldigde - die toepassing van fisiese pyn. Vanaf die vroee 1800's 1s gevangenes egter gebruik vir die instandhouding van strate en vir werk m Regeringstuine. V anaf 1806 is gevangenes ook op informele basis aan boere uitgehuur. 'n Formele stelsel van gevangene arbeid, gebasseer op die beginsel van rehabiliterende straf, is in 1843 deur die destydse Goeweneur John Montagu ingestel. Gevangenes is byvoorbeeld geklassifiseer volgens hul optrede, eerder as hul misdaad. In 1888 is gratis gevangene arbeid afgeskaf en voorsiening is gemaak vir 'n standaard loon. Na die Tweede Wereldoorlog het die gebruik van gevangene arbeid deur privaat persone sistematies toegeneem. Die rede hiervoor was 'n groeiende arbeidstekort in veral die landbou. Laasgenoemde is hoofsaaklik aangespreek deur die stelsel van plaastronke of sogenaamde "buiteposte". In 194 7 het die Landsdown Kommissie plaastronke in beginsel goedgekeur. Die eerste plaastronk, of "buitepos" soos daarna verwys is, is in 1953 geopen. Die oprigting van buiteposte het 'n tweeledige doel gehad: eerstens, het dit vir boere'n konstante voorraad van arbeid te verskaf. Tweedens was dit vir die staat 'n uitkoms, aangesien dit die oorbevolking in stedelike tronke sou verlig en kostes sou besnoei. Daarbenewens sou hierdie nuwe stelsel hydra tot die rehabilitasie van korter-termyn gevangenes. Tussen 1953 en 1988 het daar altesame dertien buiteposte in die Wes-Kaap bestaan. Boereverenigings het die oprigtingskoste van die onderskeie tronke gedra. Hierbenewens moes hulle ook ondemeem om die tronke te onderhou, terwyl die Departement van Gevangenisse verantwoordelik was vir die beskikbaarstelling van bewaarders en hul vergoeding. 'n Sentrale Buiteposkomitee is gestig wat as skakel gedien het tussen die betrokke boereverenigings en die Departement. Suid-Afrika se beleid rakende gevangene arbeid was in pas met die Verenigde Nasies se "Standaard Minimum Reels" vir die behandeling van gevangenes, met rehabilitasie as sentrale motief. Die stelsel van plaastronke het egter ingedruis teen die intemasionale handels-etos van die tyd en is as "slawe arbeid" gesien wat vir SuidAfrikaanse boere 'n onregverdige mededingende voordeel gegee het. Uit vrese vir sanksies en boikotte van Suid-Afrikaanse landbou produkte, is gevangene arbeid gestaak en buiteposte teen die einde van 1988 gesluit. Die empiriese getuienis van hierdie ondersoek staaf in 'n groot mate die Marxistiese interpretasie van straf in die samelewing. Hiervolgens dien strafstelsels en gevangene arbeid die ekonomiese belange van die dominante klasse. Terselfdertyd steun dit die Weberiaanse interpretasie waarvolgens die sistematiese monitering en behandeling van gevangenes in tronke 'n manifestasie 1s van die tendens tot toenemende rasionalisasie in die Westerse samelewing.

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