Historically, agricultural labor families were housed in marginal conditions “rent free” on the farms and paid very poorly. The husbands had year-round salaries that the wives and teenagers supplemented by working for daily wages during pruning and harvest. The farmers owned the labor cottages and retirement of one generation often meant eviction of the elderly or construction of ever more farm housing. In the new South Africa, this is not an acceptable situation: more enlightened growers are working to provide higher wages and worker-owned housing not on the farm property. We are paying increased wages, have improved the on-site cottages, and arranged for daily transportation of additional labor from local communities to the vineyard. We presently employ seven full time laborers, four wives who work for daily rates on pruning and harvest details and substantially more temporary workers for pruning and harvest. Accordingly, we intend to help our best workers acquire or build their own homes in local communities once we have attained full crop maturity.
At present there are seven laborer units (in five cottages including a new triplex constructed in 2006) on the property that were electrified for the first time under our ownership. These improvements, not insignificant in cost, required the local electrical utility installing additional power poles and transformers at our expense. The power is also supplied free to the worker families. We trust being able to read at night will contribute to improved literacy of our staff and their children.
The present manager’s house is at the property’s entrance.