Chardonnay, Best Served with Slavery

Politicians should be paid in inverse proportion to their weight. Helen Zille would be loaded, but she’d have to loan it all to Lindiwe. If these DA publicity stunts (e.g. COSATU, Nkandla, and now De Doorns) get any cheaper they’re going to have to change their name to ‘Ellerines’.

Apparently Zille is helping the ‘migrant workers’. Ja, if she wants your vote you’re a ‘migrant worker’, if she doesn’t you’re a refugee.

I am a mad angry little puppet guy at the situation of these workers. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that if Mac Maharaj forgets to do the dishes he tells his wife its Verwoerd’s fault. I mean if you burn R100, you’re skhotane. If you burn a R100-million agriculture building, you’re an arsonist. If you burn R1-billion, you’re a cabinet minister.

The fact is these Western Cape farm workers have been at the coalface of kakness for 350 years, which, unless you are Mac Maharaj’s age, is a very long time.

Farm workers are paid around R70 a day (often much lower), excluding frikking everything. How do you feed, house and raise kids on R70 a day? That is one moerse long diet.

No sour grapes (pun intended), but dear farmers, are you out of your frikking minds?!!!!! Not only do the workers often have to buy their carrot for the week from the farmer him/herself, the corrugated postboxes they have to live in belong to the farmer… yes the workers pay for that also, from the R70.

In this world Chappies is highbrow. This is the kind of place your kid grows up dreaming of being a car guard. It’s like slavery, but you have to do your own accounting. Happy days.

You’ve got to understand how a farm works to get how evil this is. A farm is like a mini-country. It’s like Nkandla with less wives, but more veggies. The farmer is king. You don’t go do research, get the facts, wadda wadda, if the farmer doesn’t invite you, so it’s very, very, very hard to get stats.

The work is seasonal – it’s like politics, where they hibernate until election time. On top of that farmers can, and often do, just chuck ous out willy nilly. I would ask if they use Red Wine Ants for evictions, but I don’t want to get my ass kicked.

The families who own these farms have often (but not always… in case you’ve got a gun) been there for hundreds of years. Basically they’re like the buildings in Stellenbosch: white and stuck in 1679. In the not so distant past they paid people with alcohol. Some still do. It’s called the dop system. Ask Jackson Mthembu. It was a jolly era where if you were black you couldn’t own a farm but you were welcome to die on one.

For a taste of these kindly citizens, go check out ‘Boere Krisis Aksies’ on Facebook. Its like a home page for Nazis, but with koeksusters. One ou was getting his bras to write to the BBC about perceived anti-white vibes, and warned them “What I suggest is that no one writes anything that can be classed as racial hatred, for racism is a big no no in the international media especially Europe”. WTF? Those crazy Europeans being against racism. Pffft.

While you about it stop by the DA Facebook page. The first comment on their farm workers post was: “But most of all we need an independent Cape!” Yup, that’s your people, Auntie Helen. Charming. Maybe y’all could give the migrant farm workers passbooks for when they come once a year from the Bantustan called ‘South Africa’?

Don’t get me wrong, I am sure the COSATU ous are playing dirty tricks as is being claimed, and yes the ANC Oliphant in the room did facilitate the current R70/day a few months ago. You know Australia, land of Aboriginal genocide and emigrated Afro-pessimists, has a minimum wage of R150 per hour? And we wanna pay ous R70 a day?!!!! What are we making Chardonnay from? Human tears?

My answer for this is simple. Put the actual wage you paying your workers on every bottle of Backsberg to the Future, Spier of the Nation, Durbanville Hillbillies that you sell. And then put the cellphone number of the bastard in charge. We wanna phone you motherf**ers.

Chester Missing is a political analyst on Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola on eNCA and etv.


  • Anton Louw

    So where are they getting cell phones, and booze to piss it up with every weekend, all weekend?
    Have you actually ever been there? I doubt it…
    Time to get out from behind your PC and to explore this country – your feet will spend less time in your mouth…

    • William Nettmann

      Hi Anton, I have never been to the wine farms, but I have lived in rural areas, and have seen plenty of how the workers live. Sure, they piss it up every weekend – that provides a temporary escape from the kakness that they endure every day. When you or I go camping and it rains and the tent leaks, we know that we will soon be home in a nice dry and warm bed. They live in shacks, and when it rains, they are at home, in a wet bed, and that is where they stay.

      Sure some have cell phones, bought cheaply second-hand, and probably stolen, and they buy like R5 airtime once a month or so – no contracts, no iPhones.

      The consequence of all that is that after the booze and the cell phones, there is no money for kids’ school clothes, shoes or fees, or even decent food, so the next generation grows up with an ambition only to have enough money to get pissed every weekend and escape the kakness for a while.

      Maybe more money will just mean more booze, and I don’t know what the answers are, but I don’t think you have really been there either.

      • Renier Kapp

        Hi William,

        I might not be the most qualified person to comment, but in saying that my opinion is probably more informed than some who writes these articles. So here goes my opinion / experience. I stay on an export table grape farm outside Paarl and although I rent a house on the farm I have much interaction with workers and managers. I can tell you that the people on the farm ALL live in brick houses, have solar geysers on every roof, have a kindergarden at the houses, have a large grassed area for the kids and receive other benefits. They are being paid in excess of R70 which I confirmed with them and they want nothing to do with these strikes. They requested the owner to put up more security gates as they are afraid of these “indringers” which may come intimidate them. “Dis die snoeiers (seasonal workers which are hired during harvesting season) wat al die kak maak”. Do not get me wrong at all, I totally agree that one cannot make a living with R70 a day and that needs to be revisited asap. For the life of me I cannot understand how workers can still earn that amount and how this was the amount prescribed in March!

        Unfortunately though farming and especially when you are exporting, its a competitive business like any other and the margins are small. When one takes into account that labour accrues for 43% of these farms production cost, a raise from R70 to R150 will be difficult for farmers to maintain. The national government revisits the minimum agricultural wage every year in March and this is not determined by the farmers. Put yourself in a farmers shoes, if you ran a business and government requires of you to pay workers R70 a day, will you be paying more, given the housing etc you provide them and the massive effect this has on the farmers production cost?Remember the risk in agriculture is high and no one is carrying the risk except the farmer himself. Farmers in our country receive very limited tax deductions compared to other countries. We have some of the best produce in the world and that needs to also be acknowledge more often instead of the media portraying all farmers as racist oppressers. I have heard first hand what incidents happened in the area yesterday and to have watched the news and reading reports just again showed how sensationalist the media is. Sure they have papers to sell but they need to be more responsible.

        Now given the above, is it fair to burn down a farmers livelihood which was built up over generations because your wage is not in accordance with what you deserve?Hey with that logic most private sector businesses must be up in flames because in every organization someone is not getting paid what they deserve. But there are places and ways in which to deal with grievances. In most cases which I am aware of in the area, workers are paid more than minimum wage as determined by government and receive extras as listed above, but obviously things are not the same on all farms. I get so worked up when I read all this bull by emotional people who hear of a single incident (true or false), then generalize, them sensationalize and jump on their keyboards which 500 others perceive as fact.

        The problem in this country is that any unhappy group of workers are allowed to strike (legally or illegally) and under that mantle they may cause any amount of property or physical damage to innocent people subsequent to which they are rewarded with increased wages etc. That sets a very dangerous precedent for all sectors and I cannot see it ending soon.

        • Jacques Marneweck

          could not agree more. People in the cities that work behind the registers full up your gas and guard property get far less. OR Tambo pays there guards R70 a day and they don’t get trance port or housing let alone solar panels or a safe plays for there kids to play. Waiters don’t even get any wage at all in JHB but because they work in a fancy looking place and not outside in the sun the media just skips past them. The people that suffer the most are not the ones on some remote farm but the people you see every day.

      • Anton Louw

        I was in De Doorns a week before this crap started and visit the area at least twice a year.
        When last did you see this ‘first hand?’
        Problem is really that they are all uneducated due to the fact that this government needs an uneducated voter base to stay in power.
        What do educated people do in their abundance of free time? They breed more children that will most likely also not be educated, and so the negative spiral continues…

  • Africa is a Country

    Human Rights Watch’s report on the conditions of farmworkers in the Western Cape is a must read:

  • Francois-Jacques Malan

    I live in Stellenbosch and there is a reason the strikes didn’t affect us, we pay 90% of our workers more than R150 a day, and they get free housing etc. Some of these poor farmworkers have their own cars and DStv, go compare that with the houses Checkers workers live in, it has old newspapers and pieces of cardboard for windows! Besides, farmers are the only people in SA that gives people free houses! That is more than our government can say!

By Chester Missing

Chester Missing Chester Missing is South Africa's hottest new political analyst. Conrad Koch is his sidekick. It's strange, but you'll laugh... a lot.

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