Verhoudings tussen boere en plaaswerkers in post-apartheid Suid-Afrika : die wisselwerking tussen formalisering en paternalisme

Loxton, Christine (2015-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An outcome of this thesis, done on farms in South-Africa in the Swartland area, is that the labour structure in agriculture is still predominantly paternalistic and that paternalism and empowerment coexist. This co-existence causes tension between farmers and farm workers as it disrupts the relationship where farmers traditionally had the authority and farm workers were subordinate, but in the modern farm setting have a measure of independence. A qualitative approach was used to investigate how farmers and farm workers perceived their relationship in the past and how they experience it presently. Individual interviews were held with each farmer and focus group discussions with workers on farms. The study discusses how farmers and farm workers maintain paternalism on farms, in the context of the reduced support of the state to white commercial farmers as well as the expansion and formalisation of labour and tenure legislation of workers' rights. The state acted as ‘patron’ to the farmers in the apartheid era, but the state’s patronage to farmers came to an end with the political transition. Farmers feel frustrated and miss the support they enjoyed previously. Legislation which challenges the power and authority of farmers has been extended to farms and provides a framework for the relationship between farmers and farm workers and establishes a context in which this relationship occurs. This has brought about that the power and authority of the “paternalistic” farmers have been exposed and challenged. These changes in farmers’ and farmworkers’ relationship with the state create uncertainties, changes and adjustments in the relationship between farmers and farm workers on farms. Farmers still take control of farms, regardless of any legislation. The farm workers also still tend to define their position as depending on the farmer’s goodwill in conjunction with formal legislation. However, although the workers are still dependent on the farmer, they are also aware of their rights in the new democratic era and they claim these rights. The “old paternalistic relationship” together with the propagation of new legislation causes tensions as well as disruptions in the relationship between famers and farm workers. But, forged in unequal relationships of dependency and loyalty, farmers and farm workers keep commercial agriculture going. The information collected is intended to shed light on the complex relationships between farmers and farm workers on farms. Hopefully this research on several farms in the Western Cape, in the Swartland environment, can contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationship between farmers and farm workers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie, wat gedoen is op plase in Suid-Afrika in die Swartland-omgewing, toon dat die arbeidsopset in die landbou oorwegend paternalisties is en dat paternalisme en bemagtiging op plase saam bestaan. Hierdie saambestaan veroorsaak spanning tussen die boere en plaaswerkers en lei tot ontwrigting in die verhouding waar boere tradisioneel die outoriteit gehad het en die plaaswerkers ondergeskik was, maar nou in die moderne plaasopset onafhanklik is. ’n Kwalitatiewe benadering is gebruik om ondersoek in te stel na hoe boere en plaaswerkers die verhoudings met mekaar in die verlede ervaar het en ook hoe hulle dit tans in die moderne plaasopset ervaar. Daar is individuele onderhoude met die boere gevoer en fokusgroepe met die plaaswerkers in hulle eie natuurlike omgewings gedoen. Die studie beredeneer hoe beide boere en plaaswerkers paternalisme op plase in stand hou, ongeag die verminderde ondersteuning van die staat aan wit kommersiële boere, asook die uitbreiding en formalisering van arbeids- en verblyfregwetgewing om plaaswerkers se regte te beskerm. Die staat het in die apartheidsjare as “beskermheer” teenoor die boere opgetree, maar daardie begunstiging van die staat aan die boere het met die politieke oorgang verval. Boere voel gefrustreerd en mis die ondersteuning wat hulle vroeër ontvang het. Wetgewing wat na plase uitgebrei is, verskaf nou sekere raamwerke waarbinne boere en werkers moet optree en stel ook sekere eise wat die konteks bepaal. Dit het veroorsaak dat die mag en outoriteit van die “paternalistiese boere” tot ’n mate blootgelê en uitgedaag word. Dit veroorsaak verskeie onsekerhede, veranderinge en aanpassings in die verhouding tussen boere en plaaswerkers op plase. Boere neem nog altyd die beheer op plase ongeag wetgewing wat hulle beperk. Die werkers is ook steeds geneig om hulle posisie te definieer as afhanklik van die boer se welwillendheid, naas die formele wetgewing. Maar, alhoewel die plaaswerkers nog altyd afhanklik van die boer is, is hulle tog as gevolg van wetgewing bewus van hulle regte en maak hulle ook aanspraak daarop. Die “ou paternalistiese verhouding” en die uitbreiding van formele wette wat boere beperk, veroorsaak dat spanning en ontwrigting in die verhoudings tussen boere en plaaswerkers ontstaan. Maar, gesmee in ongelyke verhoudings van afhanklikheid en lojaliteit hou boere en plaaswerkers die kommersiële landbou aan die gang. Die inligting wat versamel is beoog om lig te werp op die komplekse verhoudings tussen boere en plaaswerkers op plase. Hopelik sal hierdie navorsing op enkele plase in die Wes-Kaap, in die Swartland-omgewing, kan bydra tot ʼn beter begrip van die komplekse verhouding tussen boere en plaaswerkers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96833
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