Advancing Farm Worker Rights Through New Media
Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC) Trust
“There is currently no other project in South Africa, targeting farmworkers, which uses this particular technology as a tool to advance their rights and bridge the divide between farmworkers and the state” —SCLC
South Africans aged 16 and over living in cities and towns are using WhatsApp as leading instant messaging tool
South Africans are active Facebook users
April 2016 End date
Farmworkers in South Africa remain one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the country due to geographic spread and low levels of organisation. Despite progressive legislation farmworkers continue to suffer a myriad of rights abuses; including unfair labour practice, arbitrary evictions and the disregarding of their dignity.
A general assumption is that rural communities do not have access to technology and the internet. Statistics however show that smartphone/tablet and internet penetration in South Africa’s rural communities is steadily increasing. In SCLC’s area of operations farmworkers are already using WhatsApp as their primary means of communication and Facebook as a way to connect across provinces and sectors. Both these social applications have proved to be effective tools in organising, mobilising and building solidarity.
The project seeks to bridge the gap between government and rural communities, in this case farm workers, through an online platform.
Many of the state’s existing systems are out of date, not easily accessible and fraught with bureaucracy. SCLC aims to enhance the use of technology - social media tools - to make government more accessible to farmworkers (and vice versa), eliminate some of the bureaucracy (particularly with regard to reported cases) and enhance responsiveness and transparency.
Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC) Trust was established in 1987 in response to the threatened forced removal of the community of Lawaaikamp in George, under the Apartheid government. Since then, SCLC aims for a rural countryside free from poverty, where people are able to live with dignity, the environment is protected and there is a more equitable access to and control over resources and opportunities. They work with excluded rural women, men and youth in the Southern Cape and Central Karoo and western regions of the Eastern Cape prioritizing farm dwellers and workers.