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December 2000

S&T Monitoring Systems

S&T's senior partner David Everatt looks at the growth of S&T, from a new player to the key provider of monitoring systems for anti-poverty programmes in South Africa and beyond.

S&T: the key player in monitoring systems in SA

In just two years, S&T has emerged as a leading provider of development monitoring systems, in South Africa and beyond.

When S&T was founded two years ago, one of our main goals was to provide a mechanism which would allow the tools of applied research to be situated closer to the point of implementation and decision-making in development projects, and anti-poverty programmes in particular. Monitoring mechanisms were a key means of achieving this. They allowed us to combine our extensive experience of survey and other quantitative research with development delivery and management.

We found a situation where few other companies were focusing on monitoring systems, and those that did so were fixated on high-tech equipment that simply could not function in the context of anti-poverty programmes. Government's monitoring systems were weak, and monitoring itself regarded as an administrative function that could be handed over to secretaries. This situation still obtains in many places. The result: weak monitoring systems that did not fit the circumstances, and demotivated staff who regarded monitoring either as policing or an irrelevance.

Since then, we have designed monitoring systems for the Labour Market Skills Development Programme, the Labour Market Information and Statistics Directorate in the Department of Labour, for the 'War on Poverty' of the Department of Welfare (implemented by the Independent Development Trust), and others. We run monitoring and evaluation studies for the Department of Public Works, which includes a national quality of life survey, verification studies to check monitoring data accuracy, and fast turn-around diagnostics. We analyse the output of the monitoring system for the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme, South Africa's largest infrastructure delivery vehicle. The Client Satisfaction Tool, designed for Health Systems Trust to measure the attitudes of patients to the health care system, is poised for broad implementation. In Kenya, our baseline survey next year will also lead into a national monitoring framework for development and civic education. The list goes on, and S&T is extremely proud to be so heavily involved in a key aspect of governance.

Two years since S&T was founded, the situation is changing. The emphasis on delivery - the hallmark of the current government - requires detailed impact and performance monitoring, to know whether targets are being met, and how efficient government, parastatals and partners are in delivering development.

In that time, S&T has consulted to a wide range of government departments involved in delivery, and we serve on the programme management teams of some of the key development programmes of government. This has culminated in the huge national study currently under way, of developing a national monitoring framework to serve Cabinet clusters. This was won by S&T in a consortium including MXA, Simeka and Khanya, in a highly competitive tender against some of big international financial and management companies and their local counterparts.

Some departments have been badly burned, by consultants peddling extremely expensive systems that look good on Powerpoint and fail completely in the field. Many others have implemented internal performance monitoring, through performance agreements. Slowly a culture of monitoring - as a key part of management - is emerging within government. And S&T is perfectly positioned to meet the demand for monitoring systems that are affordable; that meet the needs of project implementors and workers as well as managers; that provide reliable and accurate data in good time; and that allow integration with evaluative strategies.

 

From zero to hero?

Strategy & Tactics in two years.

Starting S&T

Two years ago, S&T was launched as a company dedicated to improving the lives of the poor in Africa through designing monitoring systems for anti-poverty programmes, project and programme evaluation, development facilitation and management, and the deployment of high quality applied social research. We began in modest circumstances, operating from the house of Senior Partner David Everatt. Since then, the company has grown with Ross Jennings, Moagi Ntsime, Matthew Smith and Nobi Dube all joining as partners, and Jowie Mulaudzi as Research Manager. Our administrative capacity has grown as well, with Phindi and Portia in Johannesburg and Sihaam in Cape Town. Finally, our ranks were swelled with two highly respected non-Executive Directors, Prince Sifiso Zulu and Dr Geetesh Solanki.

Working in Africa

Our work has covered a number of countries in southern Africa, ranging from South Africa to Nigeria, and with a growing list of projects successfully completed and some just starting in Kenya. Strategic partnerships with companies like South Consulting have led us into a wide range of new areas and forced us to learn new methods and approaches. Partnerships with emerging black research houses has provided high quality fieldwork as well as enhancing our developmental approach to all aspects of research. In recognition of these, S&T was awarded an Impumelelo Top 300 Company empowerment award during 2000.

Throughput

In the two years that we have been around, we have:

  • Interviewed 25 175 people in surveys;
  • Undertaken 519 in-depth interviews, including policy-makers and ordinary people living in or near development projects;
  • Reached over 1500 people through focus groups;
  • and undertaken 2237 project assessments.

Projects

This is an enormous throughput for a small organisation, and reflects both the value added by our strategic partnerships as well as the enormous commitment and hard work of S&T staff.

S&T partners at the moment are facilitating provincial skills plans for the Department of Labour; training fieldworkers in Kenya; finalising qualitative election research for the ANC; in the middle of survey research for the Road Accident Fund; finalising the monitoring system for the Labour Market Skills Development Programme; co-managing a massive national monitoring framework for the Department of Provincial and Local Government; carrying out community profile and diagnostic studies for the Department of Public Works; beginning a massive investigation of social health for the Department of Health; in the early stages of a detailed study of the transition for Interfund and the Mott Foundation; and many other projects.

Our client list reads like a who's who of progressive development players. Clients tend to be government departments, donor organisations or multilateral institutions such as the International Labour Organisation. We use qualitative and quantitative research, and produce high quality technical reports. Most partners also manage to publish at least two articles or book chapters a year, giving added value to clients whose findings can thereby reach far broader audiences.

The future

In recent months, we have bought a house in Johannesburg, which is both a major asset for us as well as a very comfortable environment from which to base operations that now stretch across sub-Saharan Africa. We are proud of our achievements - of being able to go to work knowing that what we do help the poor in Africa towards a better future for all. We extend a heartfelt Thank You! To all our clients, past and present, for the faith they have shown in us, and for the enormous reward of being able to do the kind of work we do. Our project list for 2001 and beyond is already growing, and we look forward to a busy and exciting future.

 

Building S&T in Cape Town

Matthew Smith reports on the battle to establish S&T's Cape Town presence, a battle which is now reaping rich - if tiring - rewards.

It has been an exhausting but exhilarating final quarter of 2000 for the Cape Town office. In part, this is because of a wide variety of jobs we have been involved in; it is also in part because we will be driving two major S&T projects next year.

Social Health Insurance

The first of these major S&T projects is an assessment of Social Health Insurance (SHI) for the Department of Health. S&T, backed up by the research team of Dr Geetesh Solanki (our non-executive director) and Dr Jud Cornell, successfully won the tender to assist the department in gaining an understanding of:

  • the perceptions and priorities of members of the likely target groups for SHI regarding the composition of possible benefit packages under SHI, and
  • an understanding of the willingness and ability to pay for SHI .

Work has already begun on this project, which will be completed by July of next year.

The Kenyan baseline survey

The second project is the Kenyan baseline survey, discussed at this link. Matthew has already been to Kenya to facilitate a questionnaire design workshop with representatives from a wide range of NGOs and donors. He will be returning to Nairobi shortly with Nobi to train fieldworkers.

LMSDP

Matthew continues to work closely with the Labour Market Skills Development Programme, and has recently completed a series of interventions to assist provincial Department of Labour offices prepare their respective Provincial Skills Plans. He is also part of the team currently assessing these plans and providing feedback to the provinces. From next year Matthew will be assisting the department with an evaluation of the capacity of the different provincial offices.

Client Satisfaction Tool

The Client Satisfaction Tool Project, designed by Matthew for Health Systems Trust, has finally been completed. The project led to the development of an instrument to measure client satisfaction with health provision. The project findings have already been presented to senior managers in the National Department of Health. At the end of November Matthew will present the findings to hospital management in the Northern Cape. A software programme is currently being developed which will allow hospitals to administer and manage their own measurement of client satisfaction. All of this information will soon be available on our website.

EU Parliamentary Support Programme

In between all of the above Matthew also facilitated a Project Cycle Management workshop for the European Union's Parliamentary Support Programme (PSP). The PSP has liaison officers in each of the provincial legislatures, who provide ongoing support to their respective legislatures. To assist them with their planning and to give them a better understanding of monitoring, Matthew was asked to take them through a planning exercise.

Next year

If 2000 was busy, 2001 will be even more so, with the two big projects (SHI and the Kenyan baseline) joining a host of others. S&T is most definitely alive and kicking in the Cape!

 

Traditional leaders and

S&T had been heavily involved in rural development throughout our existence. One of the key players - deepening success when they participate and retarding it when they no not support projects - are traditional leaders. Our experience suggests that they are a key constituency for any rural development strategy or project. In this article, S&T's Moagi Ntsime and Sibongile Mthembu, EPA Development's Provincial Programme Manager, discuss the role of traditional leaders in development.

Introduction

During various stages of the delivery of poverty relief projects, such as projects under the auspices of the Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP), we have witnessed the critical role that traditional African leadership could play in either accelerating development; or delaying or obstructing development initiatives. Traditional leaders can play the role of either pro- or anti-development forces. We provide some examples from the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal province is a dynamic province in South Africa, where wealth and poverty commingle, and which enjoys a vibrant history of traditional African chieftancy and a plethora of leadership structures. Such structures have been in existence for many years and rural communities acknowledge the role and importance of such structures in development. In a recent set of surveys conducted for the Department of Public Works, traditional leadership was found to play a key role in the day-to-day lives of KwaZulu-Natal residents, to a far greater extent than in other provinces. This is an indication that in any step in the development process, traditional leaders should not be left out.

The role of the Amakhosi

The "Amakhosi" play a major role in community-based projects. They are one of the key links between organs of government, funding and development agencies and local people. This happens, for example, where local communities need sites to construct assets. The local "Inkosi" would allocate the site where the assets will be constructed. Local chiefs have the power to authorise community meetings to take place in their respective areas of jurisdiction, thereby ensuring that development initiatives in their area are "in their eyes and the eyes of other forces" acceptable and get a political blessing. This is regardless of whether or not these communities desperately need such development initiatives. Lacking the endorsement of the local leadership, project implementation is dubious, and sustainability almost certainly a failure.

On the other hand, if local chiefs are aware of such initiatives, they are normally helpful in ensuring that local conflicts are resolved to the advantage of ordinary people. Also, in cases where possible temporary jobs are generated through the projects are few and the need great, if people were rotate, local leadership mandated by local chiefs could assist in ensuring that there is common understanding of how the projects aim to equitably share these jobs. Such interventions have for example made an impact on many CBPWP projects in KwaZulu-Natal. Multiple roles However, the problem arises when the "Inkosi" has multiple roles to play. This necessitates delegation of powers to some of his "izinduna". In most cases, the decision making process becomes too complicated. The izinduna cannot take decisions on behalf of Inkosi. No matter how urgent the issue could be, the izinduna will want the Inkosi to give and receive feedback, and only then would the Inkosi take a decision. This of course has a ripple effect on other processes critical to the implementation of projects that require complete community buy-in and local leadership support or blessing. It also impacts on timelines which in turn are often set by financial monitors rather than those who understand the difficulties of implementing anti-poverty projects in rural areas.

Local leader and national player?

A classical example of multiple-role conflict is that of a community where the Inkosi is also a Member of Parliament. The development team wanted to meet with the tribal leaders to plan for a launch of the project. The date was put forward and the launch had to take place. The negotiations took place with the izinduna, who could not make a final decision because the Inkosi was not available. They could not contact him telephonically because the tradition is that one could not discuss the so-called "serious" matter with the Inkosi over the phone. As a result, the proposed launch had to be postponed. Communities usually insist that projects should be introduced through the local or traditional leadership, especially the Inkosi of the area. But meetings cannot start before the Inkosi arrives (even if he is two hours late), and people wait patiently under the tree for the traditional leader to give his blessings. Development practitioners can provide many similar examples.

What to do?

This kind of scenario makes us take a step back and ask: what roles should be played by traditional leaders in development or poverty relief projects? How should they be involved in a meaningful way so that their experience and roles as leaders should be roped in the effective implementation, monitoring and management of projects? Do these traditional leaders pose as "gatekeepers" in the development of their communities? Do they really need to participate actively in the development process or not?

The questions are endless. In a second article we will attempt to provide some answers. But we are reasonably sure that a greater role in development would enhance delivery - particularly of the integrated rural development strategy - and may ameliorate some of the tensions evident in the current political tussle between government and traditional leaders.
Part Two will appear in the next edition of Phatlatlatsa.

 

Not just for the coffee...

It is not just for the decent coffee and pleasant conversation that I find myself engaging the services of Strategy and Tactics for much of the public opinion research conducted through the unit I co-ordinate in the ANC. Much as hospitality is important, Strategy and Tactics have always offered so much more to our research programme, writes Melissa Levin, head of Election Research for the ANC.

I was delighted when the company first started up, with a transitional name at that stage, for many reasons which have proved time and again to have been correct assumptions.

For generations, many research companies in South Africa have been directed at developing marketing approaches for consumer goods and services. The focus had, for a long time, been on a white audience, and extended to a broader urban constituency. In the main, rural communities and the majority of black communities were excluded from research.

Not that I think that that is necessarily a bad thing considering the problems that I have with the way in which markets are structured! But what this means is that we have a sophisticated marketing research community in South Africa that daily learns to include black people in their baselines for commercially logical reasons.

That is not enough for the requirements of the research that the ANC conducts. For starters, the ANC is not a brand. Which may seem self-evident, but often advertising and marketing agencies construct anything, including political organisations, as a product that needs to be sold to consumers. The ANC as a liberation movement needs something different from the public opinion research it conducts. It requires research that comfortably complements any of the mass work that it co-ordinates on the ground. Not research that leads it, nor tails it.

Strategy and Tactics embraces that perspective which is evident in the individuals who work there as well as in the culture that they have built in their organisation. The work that they have done on our behalf never betrays the ethic of the organisation, nor does it treat the respondents in the research as valuable only insofar as they are potential consumers of a brand that they are testing.

Small enough so that you never feel like you are just another client, with large enough national networks to get work finished to what I am sure are annoyingly tight deadlines, Strategy and Tactics is a real asset to the development of quantitative and qualitative social and political research in our country.

 

S&T continues to provide quality election-

From the time that S&T was established, the ANC Elections Department have used our services for election-related research as well as training and capacity building for staff. This began with S&T being given responsibility for KwaZulu-Natal polling prior to the 1999 general election, and included qualitative assessments of election materials. We also provided training in qualitative and quantitative research methodology for provincial ANC election personnel. In 2000, S&T was commissioned by the ANC to undertake an extensive qualitative study for the local elections.

In a project run by S&T Senior Partners David Everatt and Ross Jennings, we built on existing quantitative research and filled the gaps that quantitative research often leaves. Working with Q&A Research and Citizen Surveys, S&T undertook a two-phase process that comprised a total of 40 focus groups across the country. The first phase of the project sought to help the Elections Department to craft election messages, and then - in phase 2 - to refine those messages. The research also helped unearth regional and local differences among potential voters.

 

Undertaking a baseline survey in Kenya

S&T has been working in Kenya for the last 18 months, but we have now been commissioned to undertake the most exciting project yet: a development baseline survey for the group of Northern donors supporting civic education in Kenya. S&T Senior Partner Ross Jennings describes the project.

Introduction

Since the early 1990s, Kenya has undergone profound structural changes. Economic and political liberalisation have impacted on Kenyan society in several ways, while the society remains centrally controlled and deeply divided by poverty, ethnicity and other serious lines of fracture. Crucially, however, no representative studies have been carried out to systematically explore the impact of these sociological changes on different segments of the population or the population as a whole. S&T has been commissioned to fill that gap.

Civic education

Citizen’s attitudes to the changes (and to areas where change is absent), their aspirations and expectations about change, should be a key factor in designing the format and content of civic education activities. In the absence of representative data, civic education has been based on local inputs and lacked a broader framework, something this study hopes to provide as the forthcoming national civic education campaign in Kenya gets under way.

Readers may recall that S&T’s David Everatt, with Fran Biggs of South Consulting, helped design a management model which allowed a group of northern donors to support five large consortia of Kenyan civic education providers during 1999.

Against this backdrop, and the various civic education initiatives that are planned for the country, Strategy and Tactics has been commissioned by a group of donors to undertake a baseline survey in Kenya. This is the first survey of its kind in Kenya.

The baseline

The baseline survey will provide a comprehensive view of Kenyan society and will be useful in the design, implementation and evaluation of civic education programmes. It will also be useful more broadly to Government agencies, NGOs, donors and other institutions looking to design effective development programmes in the human rights and good governance (HRGG) sector. Through its detailed demographic data, the survey will also provide a valuable resource to development agencies.

S&T has already held a questionnaire design workshop in Kenya for the various stakeholders. An important part of this workshop was the establishment of a Reference Group, which will provide legitimacy and representivity to the study, while helping maintain quality and focus. In addition, it will provide an important channel for disseminating findings to target audiences, government and others.

It is envisaged that the fieldwork for the baseline survey will be conducted by the end of this year and that a final report - with GIS capability - will be disseminated by the end of March 2001. A book is planned for later in 2001.

 

Youth Development Initiatives (YDIs)

S&T’s Nobayethi Dube, Jowie Mulaudzi and David Everatt were involved in an evaluation of the innovative Youth Development Initiative in Gauteng. Nobayethi tells us about the project, and some of the findings.

In our last issue, we reported on an evaluation we were undertaking for the Joint Enrichment Project (JEP) on YDIs. The evaluation included both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The qualitative part of our evaluation included focus groups and in-depth interviews with business training providers. We also administered a questionnaire to all participants of the YDIs.

Findings

Participants came both from formal and informal areas. The majority of participants had a matric and were unemployed before joining the YDI programme. This was part of the recruitment criteria - that participants should be unemployed and out of school. Most participants said they had not studied as far as they had planned.

Young - or young adults?

Participants came from varying household sizes, and many - despite being ‘youth’ - were the sole breadwinners in their households. Three out of ten respondents were the only individuals in the household that were earning an income. More than two fifths of the respondent said that only a single other member in their household was employed.

This brought the issue of the social wage paid to the youth to the fore. The design of the YDI was that all participants would earn a social wage set between R200 and R300 per month. If profits were generated (which they were), these would go to the creation of or support for a community-based organisation in the community where the YDI was located. During the focus group discussions, participants raised their unhappiness about the wage. Almost all the youth in the businesses had pressures and demands from their families.

This should remind us that ‘youth’ are merely young adults. Many carry enormous burdens as parents, breadwinners and the like. To design a programme which combines entrepreneurship and restricted wages is anyway questionable. To do so purely because participants fit into the under-35 age bracket is inappropriate, even where participants are aware of the arrangement on entering the programme. Their responsibilities in many instances are identical to those of adults and their financial needs the same.

Training and value

All participants (except one individual) in the businesses went for business plan training, which was provided by Foundation for Economic and Business Development (FEBDEV). Training was also provided by the Centre for Business Education and Trust (CBE&T). Because of financial constraints this training was not attended by everyone. Each business site had to send two representatives with the hope that they would pass the skills on to other members of their business site. The JEP also offered life-skills training to participants. There were mixed feelings on the training with some participants saying the business training did not add any value. They felt that too much of the training was theory and little emphasis was put on the practical side. Some of this reflected problems with training provision, detailed in the evaluation technical report.

Lifeskills

The JEP’s lifeskills training - something the JEP have been championing for a decade or more - was considered useful by participants and most felt that it had helped them to have a different view on life. One young man from the Bekkersdal site said “JEP’s training helped me a lot, I never thought I could sit with people and discuss differences or problems, but now I have a different outlook on life”. It may be time for a larger-scale demonstration of the value to youth of the much talked-about lifeskills training.

Qualities that lead to success

We asked participants what they thought was the ‘recipe for success’? Most participants mentioned that motivation and hard work lie behind success. Working together was also cited as important. The majority (76%) agreed with the statement: “In a business, even if you have responsibility for a specific task you must be willing to do whatever has to be done”.

The social wage

Youth recruits were paid a social wage - between R200 and R300 per month regardless of the profitability of their businesses. When conducting focus groups, representatives from the sites had told us that the social wage was not worth debating since they were unanimously unhappy and rejected it. In the survey, however, we found a different situation, with 80% of respondents agreeing to the statement “We were given government money to start our business and we have a responsibility to put into the community even if our wages are lower”. We also found that the majority of respondents came from families where they were the sole supporters of the entire family.

The future

We asked participants to tell us where they thought they and their businesses would be in five years time. The majority (59%) chose self-employment, 12% want to work for a YDI-type venture, and a quarter (24%) want to work for big business. Three quarters (74%) of YDI workers are optimistic about their businesses and believe that five years from now, they will be successful. When asked to rate their businesses, participants mainly gave scores in the 7-10 (out of 10) range, although in Lanseria and Dobsonville some participants gave far lower scores.

Conclusion

Being an observer of these YDIs gave us the sense of determination among participants who wanted their business to be successful and still to be around in five years time. However participants were also concerned about a lot of issues, which they felt were hindering their businesses, which ranged from electricity, commitment from other members, and so on.

Participants felt that the YDIs were a good idea but they also raised a variety of issues about the organisations that are providing resources and support to them. Most participants felt that in future YDI participants had to be carefully screened or interviewed before they being taken on board such ventures.

 

Diagnostic Evaluation Studies

The purpose of the studies are to investigate performance and impact around certain development issues at the project level. Throughout the lifetime of the Community Based Public Works Programme the Department needs to reconcile and assess the integrity of the data received from the cluster managers and project managers regarding the number of temporary jobs created, types of jobs performed by women at project level, and the extent to which the programme has empowered them. To address these issues the Department commissions regular random diagnostic assessments of the performance of certain clusters and projects on these issues. Two examples are as follows:

Social Facilitation

The aim was to understand the role the social facilitator has played in the CBPWP, in particular to establish the role the facilitator played in ensuring the

  • the provision of training to those who work on projects,
  • employment of women, the disabled and young people;
  • creating sustainable jobs among the poor;
  • ensuring that assets are sustainable and are used for the benefit of these communities; and
  • assisting the communities to get start-up funds for necessary equipment.

Nature of Temporary Jobs for Women

The aim was to gauge whether projects were meeting their gender targets, to assess whether pay equity targets were being met, and to explore how well women were received/ treated on the job. The key steps in this process were as follows:

  • establish the number of people employed on the projects, by project;
  • establish the number of women employed on the projects, by project (in comparison with men);
  • establish what types of temporary jobs women are being used in by type of job;
  • establish how much the women are being paid (in comparison with men);
  • establish how long, on average, the women work for? (compared to men).
 

Designing a computer-based logframe-derived monitoring system for the Labour Market Skills Development Programme

S&T Senior partner David Everatt has been helping the massive Labour Market Skills Development Programme (LMSDP) - the largest EU technical grant of its type in the world - design and implement a monitoring system. He describes progress thus far.

Background

The LMSDP is a massive undertaking by the Chief Directorate: Skills Development and Employment Services in the Department of Labour. The overall strategy - reflected in the Skills Development Act and Skills Levy Act - aims to enhance skills among workers and the unemployed through a massive overhaul of the skills development process in South Africa.

The programme is divided into 12 projects within the Chief Directorate, 6 of which are funded by the EU and have European counterparts for each project. Others are supported by GTZ, Danida and other donors.

A year ago S&T’s David Everatt and Matthew Smith helped facilitate the Inception Workshop of the LMSDP. Since then, Matthew has been heavily involved in the provincial activities of the programme (see elsewhere in this edition). David meanwhile has been designing a computerised monitoring system for the LMSDP.

From logframe to computerised system

The system began with David and UK consultant Mike Felton finalising project logframes. These had to go through a series of revisions to ensure that they were either (a) not too short by focusing on Results and Key Activities, but also (b) not too long once projects had developed their own milestones and activity schedules.

Thereafter, David designed the system, which will allow monthly reports from all projects to be logged onto the data capture sheet (pictured). Projects also complete Exception Reports where activities have been cancelled or amended; a narrative report that obliges them to analyse the impact of their progress on other LMSDP components; and, finally, includes a planning component where projects have to plan the next month of activities - and (in the following month) report against their plans. Within days of the data being loaded, the system will produce reports that analyse progress by project; by cross-cutting area; across the programme as a whole; or within any set of OVIs or activities you select. Reports may be narrative, statistical or graphic (pictured).

This is one of the most advanced monitoring systems designed for a government programme, and marks a major step forward in harmonising the demands of technology, logframe users and public servants in providing a user-friendly, fast turn-around and responsive system.

The system is currently being piloted and debugged, and will be fully implemented from January 2001.

 

S&T evaluates programme for evicted farm workers

Strategy and Tactics and South Consulting were commissioned by the European Union to conduct an evaluation of the farm workers eviction programme. The programme is aimed at assisting farm workers who have been threatened or have been evicted by farmers after having worked and stayed on a farm for longer than 10 years. S&T’s Nobayethi Dube describes the project.

Access and openness

The project focused on the Eastern Cape, where the National Land Committee (NLC) and the Legal Resource Centre (LRC) had been working together on the ground. We visited three farms where we spoke to a number of farm workers who had been assisted by the Border Rural Committee (BRC), an NLC affiliate in the Eastern Cape. The farms we visited were Komqa, Mooiplaas and Cathcart. Because of logistical problems we could not hold focus groups with the farm workers and had to hold discussions with families in both Mooiplaas and Cathcart. In Komqa a discussion was held with about fourteen men. Most of the participants had not directly been assisted through the farm workers project but knew that such a programme existed and were there so that they could raise their concerns.

The discussions at Mooiplaas were held with women who had had contact with BRC. They had been threatened with eviction by a new owner who wanted them to vacate the land. They then contacted BRC who held a workshop with them. The purpose of the workshop was to inform them about their rights as farm workers.

In Cathcart, we visited two families who had been threatened with evictions by a new owner. On that particular farm there was a widow who had decided to leave the farm because she was too scared to continue living there. The two families that had remained seemed to be comfortable with the arrangement, whereby they received a ration and their stock was allowed to graze.

Interviews were also held with local councillors and advice officers in Komqa. Both the councillors and the advice officers had been trained in the Extension of Security of Tenure (ESTA) legislation by BRC. The councillors and advice officers monitored any evictions and then reported to BRC if they knew of any farm worker who had come up to them seeking assistance.

Findings

Land was of course the main issue that came up in the discussions and interviews. In the male group discussion, most participants complained about how frustrated they were about access to land. They mentioned that they had stock and if they are evicted from the farm where would their stock graze? But even if farm workers got access to land they would still have to develop the land.

Issues of intimidation by farmers were also raised in this group. Participants mentioned that farmers intimidated farm workers who in turn would leave the farms. There was also concern about the number of illegal dismissals of farm workers in which they would then have to vacate farms, someTimes New Roman within a period of thirty days.

The women that we interviewed were concerned about the conditions that they were living in. The farmer (a new owner) had used every kind of intimidation to try and get them off the land. Although BRC had intervened, the women felt frustrated with having to live on that particular farm. The farmer wanted them to pay rent and they felt it was unfair because they were receiving very low wages.

The other issue for women was the fact even if they left the farm they would not be accepted by the village because farm workers are regarded as ‘low’ people. ‘If I leave here where will I go? People in the village will never accept us, I do not even want to mention the township, where am I supposed to go with my children’. The status and prospects of this floating rural population - not wanted on farms or in rural villages - is a real concern.

 

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