Recent and upcoming events

Productivity of seasonal farm workers in the fruit industry

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Abigail Britton
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

South African agriculture faces many difficulties in the post-Apartheid era, and yet, as a labour-intensive industry it is important for combating unemployment. This paper investigates the drivers of labour productivity and wage structures on fruit farms in the Western Cape, in the aftermath of a minimum wage imposition. Results show that gender, language and number of dependants are significantly correlated with labour productivity on farms. The current picking workforce is overwhelmingly of African descent and employed in casual jobs. Results show that productivity lower on a Monday and Friday than during the rest of the week, perhaps as a result of the legacy of the dop system. The labourers on the three farms are paid on a piece-rate system and it would appear that none earn below the minimum wage of R11.67 an hour, but rather that most earn up to 1.5 times the minimum wage. The discussion suggests ways in which both output per worker and the living standards of workers can be improved.

Economies of scale, predation rates and the profitability of small stock farming in Laingsburg, Central Karoo South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 27 August, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Beatrice Conradie
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper reports on a questionnaire survey of 64 small stock farms covering 80% of the farmers and 50% of the land in the Laingsburg district in the Central Karoo of South Africa. The survey found a lambing rate (live lambs born per ewe mated) of 80%, a sales rate (lambs sold per ewe mated) of 57% and a total confirmed stock loss rate (lambs plus ewes lost per ewe mated) of 13%. Predation accounted for between two thirds and three quarters of all livestock losses and disproportionately targeted lambs that have been tagged already but where still with their mothers. The average net revenue from mutton sales was R230 per ewe, which was marginally higher than the average of R210 reported for lifestyle farmers (gentlemen or hobby farmers). For commercial farmers, profitability increased with farm size, from R130 to R309 per breeding ewe. If predator losses could be eliminated, the profitability of the average farm’s mutton enterprise would more than double. The annual depredation impact was estimated to be R9.33 per hectare, R99 per ewe mated, R76000 per farm and R7.7 million for the Laingsburg district as a whole. All prices are in 2012 ZAR. However, despite these large costs charged to predation losses, predators were found not to be the main reason for Karoo farmers’ financial vulnerability.

Keywords:  human -wildlife,sheep profitibility,reproductive efficiency,black-backed jackals caracals,Central Karoo. 

Journey mapping: Life histories of farm workers in Laingsburg district

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Inge Conradie (Co-author: Annabelle Wienand)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This was a case study of the life histories of fifteen casual workers from Laingsburg. With the livelihood difficulties associated with the casualisation of farm workers, the question was raised of why this group of workers return to a community which offers them very little by way of escaping these difficulties? This study found that in fact, not all casual agricultural workers are former permanent on-farm workers. It reveals a more complicated life trajectory than that ascribed to the average casualised farm worker in South Africa.

This group of men have been casual labourers for most of their lives and hence the shifts in agricultural employment practices, due to decades of unremitting legislative changes, have had a relatively small impact on their lives. They are not necessarily trapped in the agricultural sector or rural communities, rather there are factors, such as a distinct association of the city with danger, pushing them towards Karoo living. Simultaneously there are strong pull factors keeping them rooted in this community: their self-association with a farm worker identity, a migratory tradition and social networks as sources of employment, income security and high dependence on grants are all factors that play into the life and work trajectory this group of casual workers

Families, Kin and the State in South Africa

Event type: 
Workshop
Date and time: 
Wednesday, 14 August, 2013 - 09:00 to 18:00
Presenter(s): 
Prof Jeremy Seekings & Dr Elena Moore
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,R4.29 ,level 4 Leslie Social Science Building,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

Policies and laws are important in shaping family and personal relationships both in terms of the assumptions they make about normative family life but also in the resources they provide to improve people’s well-being.

The workshop sets out some of the ways in which the law and policy in South Africa affect family lives and relationships. Drawing on new in-depth research on people’s experience of customary marriage and research on care, the workshop will address questions of how to support care and commitments in personal and family relationships.  The workshop hopes to provide a considered and politically relevant perspective on these issues, important for researchers, policy-makers and students alike. 

 

 

Jackal Narratives and Predator Control in the Karoo

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 6 August, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Nicoli Nattrass & Beatrice Conradie
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar,R4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

This paper discusses the historical roots of, and scientific evidence for, rival ‘jackal narratives’ about the problems posed by black-backed jackals for South African sheep farmers and conservation policy more broadly. The jackal has recently decolonised many South African sheep farms as agriculture became less economically and politically important, as land use patterns changed and as government stopped subsidising predator control. The influential ‘environmental jackal narrative’ shaping conservation policy, that lethal control is undesirable and ineffective, is rooted in the science of predator ecology but the linked recommendation that farmers learn to ‘live with the jackal’ is on less solid ground. The rival ‘farmer jackal narrative’, that jackal populations need to be suppressed on agricultural lands, in fact resonates with conservation theories justifying the culling of jackals in national parks. Contestation over values is important in shaping attitudes, but these competing plausible hypotheses about jackal control suggest that further scientific studies may be helpful in the construction of policies that are acceptable to both sides.

 

" Discourses of “deservingness”: Regulating access to disability grants in South Africa.

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 30 July, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Gabrielle Kelly
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,R4.29,Level 4 Leslie Social Science,Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

The disability grant (DG) has featured prominently in debates around social security in South Africa, both inside and outside government, because it has raised major questions about social development and poverty alleviation strategies that extend well beyond concerns about disability.  Debates around how to regulate access to the DG and who “deserves” the grant reveal discursive tensions within government and civil society around concepts of disability and the value of social grants as a developmental intervention. In this seminar I will discuss the recent history of DG regulation and the discourses of "deservingness" that are visible in the debates on how to manage access to the grant. This is based on an analysis of minutes and recordings of parliamentary debates, legislation, policy documents and departmental plans and reports. 

 

Tax(i)ing the poor- transport and labour market outcomes in South Africa.

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 21 May, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Andrew Kerr
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,Leslie Social Science,Room 4.29 Upper Campus.
Abstract / Description: 

This paper explores the effects of the low density of South African cities on commuting times and costs, as well as labour market outcomes. Commute times for workers are much longer than OECD countries- average commute times for black South Africans are 2.5 times longer than EU commutes and twice as long as US commutes. Monetary costs are also relatively high for those that pay to commute, although a substantial fraction of workers walk to work.
Minibus taxis are the dominant mode of transport for commuters in South Africa but they are also more expensive than publicly funded or subsidised buses and trains. The recent bus driver’s strike illustrates that an alternative to government provided buses is good for commuters. However the government’s current policy seems to favour a shift towards publicly funded buses and away from minibus taxis. I discuss the pros and cons of this policy.
 

Food Security and the Urban Food Policy Gap

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 14 May, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Jane Battersby-Lennard
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,Leslie Social Science,Room 4.29 Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The right to food and the challenge of food insecurity are being increasingly articulated in public statements of the ANC, DA, COSATU and other political players. However, while the right to food and food insecurity are gaining increased public political presence, this paper argues that the existing policy responses have significant gaps. The ‘face of food insecurity’ is increasingly urban and the food security and yet current food security policies lack an explicitly urban focus, leaving cities with no mandate to address food insecurity and the wider urban food system. The outcome of this is urban policies and by-laws that ultimately hinder access to food for low-income residents of cities. This paper presents data from the AFSUN Cape Town baseline survey to argue for the development of a specifically urban response to food insecurity.  

 

Deserving and undeserving poor: Assessments of claims made on kin and state in Cape Town, South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 7 May, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Jeremy Seekings
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,Leslie Social Science,Room 4.29 Upper Campus.
Abstract / Description: 

The distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor is fundamental to the design of most welfare states. Similarly, private individuals typically discriminate in who they do and do not support, for example supporting close kin more than distant kin. This paper examines how young South Africans distinguish between deserving and undeserving claimants on both the state and kin. Data are from survey experiments using vignettes included in the fifth wave of the Cape Area Panel Study (2009). I show that there are clear and generally intuitive hierarchies of desert with respect to both public and private welfare. I examine how these are affected by the characteristics of the respondent, and the efficacy of attempts to persuade respondents to change their minds. Finally, I examine the relationship between the perceived hierarchy of desert with respect to public welfare and the perceived hierarchy with respect to private welfare.

A History of the Surplus People: Resettlement and the Making of the Ciskei, South Africa, c.1960- 1976

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 30 April, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Laura Evans
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room,Leslie Social Science Building,4.29
Abstract / Description: 

The extent of urban segregation, widespread poverty and the proliferation of shack settlements are striking images for any observer of contemporary South Africa. But beyond the country’s city spaces, which share some similarities with others in the global South, the ubiquitous and sprawling rural settlements of dislocated ‘urban’ poverty are perhaps the most sobering and defining features of the post-apartheid landscape. Sada and Ilinge, located at the northern extremity of the former Ciskei Bantustan, in the Eastern Cape, are two such places (fig. 1). Established in the early 1960s, these rural resettlement sites grew rapidly in the following two decades, as the apartheid government restricted new housing development to basic provision in the rural and impoverished Bantustans. Families and communities resident in small towns across the Cape were brutally removed, very often at gunpoint, and transported like cattle to barren, isolated and inhospitable sites where they were greeted by little more than a single tent for a family. Farm tenants were also relocated in this way. The minimal provision of prefabricated housing was blithely advertised to farm dwellers looking to escape farms for alternative accommodation, sold as a promised land of ‘milk and honey’ by officials wishing to expedite their removal from residences on white-owned farms. The rapidity of such resettlements, the mass uprooting of people with already-marginal livelihoods and the poor provision of housing and infrastructure in the new resettlement sites precipitated a major humanitarian crisis. Food rations provided were barely enough to prevent starvation. Widespread infant mortality and the ubiquitous presence of malnutrition and related diseases were reported in shocking press accounts of these areas, which quickly became known in critical discourse as the ‘dumping grounds’ of apartheid.

This presentation will lay out some of the key findings of my study of the experiences engendered by mass resettlement in the northern Ciskei in the period 1960- 1976. Social inequalities of class, gender and generation shaped a diverse range of experiences and the subjective meanings that individuals attached to their resettlement. Housing shortages, deep poverty, unemployment and widespread reliance on the wages of young migrant men were crucial dynamics in the making of power and the hegemonic projects of new Tribal Authorities in the self-governing Ciskei.

 

 

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