Women farm workers, dwellers call on Johan Rupert to endorse wealth tax
WOMEN farm workers and dwellers marched through Stellenbosch yesterday to hand over a memorandum of demands to chairperson of Remgro Limited, Johan Rupert, calling on him to endorse an introduction of a wealth tax on the richest 1% population of South Africa.
In commemorating Heritage Day, the women from the Western Cape and Northern Cape Women on Farms Project (WFP) marched outside Remgro Limited with placards.
WFP project director, Colette Solomon said: “Johann Rupert, the chairperson of Remgro Limited, is the second richest South African with a net worth of billions. He and his family own multiple farms and have shares or investments in various companies, including FNB, Discovery, Mediclinic, Rainbow Chicken, Nola Mayonnaise, 5
Star Special Maize Meal and Klipdrift. The memorandum calls on Johann Rupert to endorse the call for a wealth tax.”
Monica Hickman of Remgro Limited received the memorandum on behalf of Rupert.
Solomon said a wealth tax would restore the dignity of farm workers who had suffered for too long from the legacy of slavery, apartheid and destructive commercial farming and wine production.
“South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. 1% of South Africans – only 356 000 people – own 55% of the country's wealth, while white farmers still hold 80.6% of South Africa's freehold farmland. Meanwhile, the minimum wage for farm workers is R3 904.20.
“Living wage research commissioned by Women on Farms Project in 2020 found that work on farms is extremely precarious for women who are seasonally employed, and trapped in cycles of indebtedness, just to ensure daily family survival,” she said.
Speaking from the march yesterday, Droee Heuwel from Robertson called for equal rights and justice.
“I get 10 to 15 units (of electricity ) a month. It's up and when I buy R20 I get one unit then I have to apply for a subsidy at the municipality.
“We are on our own and I ask when will it come to an end because we want equal rights and justice in our country.
“It is not about me, it is about my children and their children. I don't want them to be in these circumstances and go through what I have to go through,” Heuwel said.
The women also criticised Rupert for not being present to receive the memorandum.
They also launched the Feminist Reparation Campaign which calls for the introduction of a wealth tax.