Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Zanu PF chefs exploiting farm workers

Zanu PF chefs exploiting farm workers

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:55

JAMAYA Muduvuri, a former Zanu PF senator, won the hearts of Chegutu’s 
Twyford Farm workers when for some time he continued to pay them handsomely 
after taking over the property from a white commercial farmer in 2009.

Some 28 lucky workers who survived a retrenchment exercise developed a soft 
spot for Muduvuri as he paid them well and supplied them with foodstuffs.

“You would naturally feel lucky to survive the chop which cost some 170 
employees their jobs, but that lasted for just a few months,” one employee 
said last week.

“As it is right now, we are yet to get our wages for March, April and May. 
He paid half wages to each employee in June, July and August. We are now 
suffering like all those who lost their jobs because we have never handled 
the US$55 minimum wage. He is paying US$45 when he says he has paid the full 
wage and US$28 when paying half.”

Muduvuri took over the farm from Catherine Jouineau-Meredith, a French 
The farm, which was one of the most productive in the area, was supposed to 
be protected by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

Trade unionists have indicated that there are many high-ranking Zanu PF 
officials who have failed their inherited farm workers like Muduvuri, with 
information that some have never paid any wages since the economy was 
dollarised. “Some have never paid and others have only paid for an average 
of two months since dollarisation,” Edward Dzeka of the General Agriculture 
and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said.
Dzeka, who is Gapwuz organising secretary for Kadoma, Chegutu, Selous and 
Mhondoro said most people who took over farms in the areas are Zanu PF 
bigwigs and only a few were paying their employees as expected.

“Many are paying below the minimum wage of US$55 and lay off workers without 
following due procedures,” he said.
“When we engage them on these issues, they say we are MDC activists.”

At one citrus farm owned by a senator, workers said they were earning US$40 
per month and although they receive the wages every month, they usually come 
on the 9th of the following month.

“She said she does not consider us as her workers but casual employees, 
including some of us who used to be permanent employees at this farm,” one 
worker said. “So she said, each of us earns US$2 per day. The problem here 
is that the oranges are not doing well because of lack of chemicals and 

At another farm owned by a Zanu PF politburo member, workers said the 
minimum wage was pegged at US$32. “But the biggest problem here is the 
acrimony between those who were sacked and those who are working as those 
who are still employed sometimes harass those who lost their jobs, ordering 
them out of the compound,” one employee said.

“A lot of people are surviving on piece jobs whereby they earn as little as 
US$1 per day while others are paid for spying for the managers.”
While some farm owners were unreachable, Muduvuri disputed the claims saying 
he was paying up as expected.

“I have 30 workers and the lowest paid earns US$85 while my drivers earn 
US$100 and the farm managers as much as US$600,” he said.
“Come on the ground and ask any employee if they are not being paid and they 
will tell you that I do not owe any of them any money. I give each employee 
a bucket of mealie-meal and other basic foodstuffs every month and I also 
assist them with funeral costs if need be.”
Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa yesterday said she could 
not comment on the matter as she was at the airport preparing to leave the 

Farm workers, whose livelihoods were destroyed by the land reform programme, 
have often been victims for their alleged links to the Movement for 
Democratic Change.

A report prepared by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe in 2003, said 
prior to the land reform programme, an estimated 320 000 to
350 000 people were employed by about 4 500 commercial farmers.

Their dependants numbered between 1,8 million and two million, nearly 2% of 
the country’s population.


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