Die behuisingsvoorkeure van plaaswerkers in Stellenbosch

De Kock, Floris Johannes (1998-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 1998.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study is to explore the perceptions and preferences regarding house ownership on the part of farmworkers living in the Devon Valley/ Stellenbosch Kloof ("Devonkloof') area outside Stellenbosch. A study such as this is important for more than one reason: the institution of "tied housing" on South African farms, is probably the factor that contributes most to farmworkers' dependence on the farmer and the control that the latter exercises over the employee and his family. In the most recent period this vulnerability has increased as farmers, especially in the Western Cape, have started to adopt a more "businesslike" approach towards worker housing. When farmers refer to a "productive house", they point to an arrangement whereby it is expected from every able person in a household to make him- or herself available for farm work - especially during the harvest. In this way members of the farmworker community are denied the opportunity of permanent, better paid employment outside the farm. Women are the ones that are mainly affected by the scaling down of the benevolent side of paternalism. However, for the first time in South African history the opportunity now exists to break this dependence, or at least to reduce it. This possibility flows from the convergence of a variety of developments, the most important of which is the launching of the post-apartheid government's housing subsidy scheme for farmworkers. In essence, the latter boils down to an arrangement whereby farmworkers can apply to the Department of Land Affairs for an amount of R 15 000 when wanting to obtain land or a house. Another recent development which reduces farmworkers' dependence, is the concept legislation regarding security of tenure. lt lends protection against eviction especially to older farmworkers who have worked on the farm for ten years or more. That farmworkers are concerned about life after retirement and have an intense desire for secure housing, is not much of a secret. In order to effectively address this concern, financially viable housing alternatives need to be developed. For instance, provident fund/ pension scheme payments could be used in combination with state housing subsidies in order to obtain own title for workers. However, in order to be viable, it is equally important to take into account the perceptions and housing preferences of the workers themselves. To gauge these is the main objective of the study. For purposes of the study, the unit of analysis was defined as the head of the household (male or female) who lives on the farm, is engaged in a permanent contractual relation with the farmer and belongs to one of the Devonkloof provident funds. A random sample of 93 such farmworkers was drawn from a total population of 188 heads of households spread over 13 farms in the research area. Their perceptions and preferences regarding housing were explored during interviews conducted on the basis of a semi-structured questionaire. The interviews were held by the researcher himself and a number of final year Social Work students at the University of Stellenbosch. Data collected in this way, was analysed through the utilisation of the SPSS statistical package. The socio-economic profile of the workers involved in the study, confirms to a large extent the prevailing portrait of permanent farmworkers in the Western Cape: they are almost exclusively male and Afrikaans speaking. Their literacy level is relatively low and the majority earns a cash wage of R100-150 per week. Three-quarters have never left "their" farm for alternative work. Of those that have, many only did so to work for short stints on another farm. As a result, most of the workers involved know of no other existence than the (neo-)paternalist life world of the farm. The familiarity of the farm is one of the reasons why slightly more than 50% of wofkers indicated that they would prefer to live on the farm during their working lives. When thinking about life after retirement, housing in the (imaginary) agrivillage was the most popular choice. Although a large number of farmworkers are ignorant about the government's housing subsidy scheme, the majority is clear about one thing: they would like to own their own dwelling - whether on the farm or outside the "white gates", because the own house is the route to less vulnerability, more independence and security.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie ondersoek is om die persepsies en voorkeure van plaaswerkers, woonagtig op plase in die Devonvallei/ Stellenboschkloof ("Devonkloor) area, met betrekking tot huiseienaarskap te ondersoek. 'n Ondersoek soos hierdie is vir meer as een rede belangrik: In Suid-Afrika is die instelling van "gekoppelde behuising" op plase waarskynlik die faktor wat die meeste bydra tot plaaswerkers se afhanklikheid van plaaseienaars en laasgenoemde se kontrole oor die werker en sy gesin. Hierdie kwesbaarheid van plaaswerkers is in die afgelope aantal jare versterk deurdat plaaseienaars, in veral die Wes-Kaap, 'n meer "besigheidsgeoriemteerde" houding rakende plaaswerkerbehuising ingeneem het. Daar word verwys na die "produktiewe huis" in die sin dat daar van alle geskikte inwoners van die huis verwag word om hulself beskikbaar te stel vir diens op die plaas, veral gedurende oestye. Hierdie mense (en veral vroue) word op hierdie manier die geleentheid van 'n permanente, beter betalende betrekking buite die plaas ontneem. Hierdeur word die "menslike" sy van paternalisme toenemend afgeskaal. Vir die eerste keer in Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis bestaan daar egter nou die geleentheid om hierdie afhanklikheid te verbreek of ten minste te verminder. Dit is die resultaat van 'n verskeidenheid van faktore waarvan die belangrikste die regering se nuwe subsidieskema vir plaaswerkers is. Laasgenoemde kom daarop neer dat plaaswerkers vir 'n bedrag van R 15 000 by die Departement van Grondsake aansoek kan doen ten einde 'n huis of grond te bekom. 'n Ander onlangse verwikkeling wat plaaswerkers se afhanklikheid verminder, is die konsepwetgewing rakende die sekerheid van besitreg. Dit gee veral vir ouer plaaswerkers sekuriteit van verblyf op die plaas waar hulle vir tien jaar of !anger gewerk het. Oat plaaswerkers bekommerd is oor hul heenkome by aftrede en graag oor woon-sekuriteit wil beskik, is nie 'n geheim nie. Om hierdie behoefte egter effektief aan te spreek, moet finansie~l haalbare behuisingsalternatiewe uitgewerk word. So sou voorsorg-/pensioenskema uitbetalings byvoorbeeld met die regering se huissubsidie gekombineer kon word om eie titel vir werkers te bekom. Ewe belangrik vir die leefbaarheid van so 'n projek is dat plaaswerkers se houdings en voorkeure ten opsigte van behuising in ag geneem word. Om dit te peil, is die primere doel·van hierdie studie. Die eenheid van analise in hierdie studie is die huishoof (manlik of vroulik) wat op die plaas woon, in 'n permanente kontraktuele verhduding staan met die plaaseienaar en terselftertyd lid is van een van die Devonkloof se voorsorgfondse. 'n Ewekansige steekproef van 93 sulke plaaswerkers is getrek uit 'n totale populasie van 188 huishoofde, versprei oor 13 plase in die navorsingsgebied. Hierdie werkers se persepsies en voorkeure met betrekking tot behuising is tydens onderhoude op die basis van 'n semigestruktureerde vraelys gepeil. Die onderhoude is deur die navorser self en 'n aantal finalejaar Maatskaplike werk studente aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch gevoer. Die data wat op hierdie manier ingewin is, is deur middel van die SPSS statistiese pakket ontleed. Die sosio-ekonomiese profiel van die betrokke respondente wat in hierdie studie na vore kom, bevestig in 'n groot mate die bestaande beeld van permanente plaaswerkers in die Wes-Kaap: hulle is feitlik uitsluitlik manlik en Afrikaans. Hulle geletterdheidspeil is betreklik laag en hulle verdien meesal tussen R 1 00 - 150 kontant per week. Driekwart het nog nooit "hul" betrokke plaas verlaat vir ander werk nie en baie van die wat wel het, het bloot vir 'n wyle op 'n ander plaas gaan werk. Die meeste ken dus geen ander bestaan as die (neo-)paternalistiese leefwereld van die plaas nie. Die bekendheid van die plaasmilieu is een van die redes waarom net meer as 50% van werkers aangedui het dat hulle tydens hulle werkslewe graag op die plaas sou wou bly. By aftrede was die (denkbeeldige) landboudorpie of "agrivillage" die mees gewilde keuse. Alhoewel 'n groot aantal plaaswerkers onkundig is oor die post-apartheid regering se huissubsidieskema, bestaan daar in die meeste se bewussyn geen onduidelikheid oor een kwessie nie: hulle wil graag 'n woonplek besit, of dit nou op die plaas is of buite die "wit hekke"; want 'n eie huis is die pad na minder kwesbaarheid, meer onafhanklikheid en sekuriteit.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/55844
This item appears in the following collections: