Case story

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ACCESS Case Story 3: Farmworker Grievances in the Western Cape, South Africa

ACCESS Case Story No. 3

Farmworker Grievances in the Western Cape, South Africa

By Hendrik Kotze

In 2009, the UK-based retailer Tesco launched a pilot project on operational-level grievance mechanisms that convened stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the Western Cape of South Africa. It culminated in a model grievance mechanism for farm labourers in the fall of 2010 that was piloted in some agribusinesses. While South African parties were all acutely aware of the broader structural issues in the industry and the mistrust they faced, the process they followed was not structured to address these at the table. This in retrospect undermined commitment to the process and the utility of the eventual outcomes. This case story reflects on the value of engagement to build trust that can help address key drivers of conflict and human rights violations. It also reflects on how pre-defined agendas and externally-imposed deadlines can be fatally disruptive of the trust building process necessary to deal with such fundamental issues and concerns.

Click here to download the full case story in PDF.


Panel discussion of "Farmworker Grievances in the Western Cape, South Africa"

At ACCESS' launching conference in 2012, the case of Farmworker Grievances in the Western Cape was discussed in a panel of stakeholders who were involved in the case:

  • Hennie Claassens, Market Access Manager, Kromco (Pty) Ltd

  • Bill Thomson, Senior Commissioner, Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

  • Linda Lipparoni, Wine and Agricultural Ethical Trade Association (WIETA)

  • Desmiline Minyi, Training Project Manager for WIETA

The session was moderated by Brian Ganson, Senior Researcher at the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement (ACDS), University of Stellenbosch Business School. The video below highlights some of the issues discussed.


South Africa