How does the South African Winelands crisis look from the USA?

We don’t hear much on the news about South Africa really. The USA isn’t fighting a war there and we don’t produce anything they really need.

Except, possibly, great wine with a different swing to California’s good stuff.

This billboard is all over Los Angeles. “What can one person do?” Well, not everything, guys. Time to start doing a bit of the heavy lifting ourselves perhaps?

So what a pity there’s the possibility of international boycotts after the international community discovered just how little workers on farms earn?

I wrote this article about the issue on News24. Now, I know some people really can’t afford to pay more than minimum wage. I also know a lot of people who could pay workers more per day and employ them fewer days, or who can afford double what they pay, and still under-pay.

It’s not a question of whether or not the wine industry can afford to pay more than it does. It has to. End of story. If it doesn’t, the international community will stop buying our wines.

Anyhow, we’ll see how it goes down. I am almost certain I’ll get the usual death threats – hopefully from angry white people who’re too lazy to carry them out.

The image South African Wine wants.

The image South African wine is in danger of getting.

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2 Responses to “How does the South African Winelands crisis look from the USA?”

  1. Andre Says:

    The farmworkers are in a desperate situation, Still the farmers too have an uncomfortable problem. I grew up on a farm and I know how things work on a farm.

    Let me explain my thinking as best I can.

    An oversupply of unskilled labour = a low salary. To get out of that situation you need to work and learn and obtain skills and that will elevate you from the unfair salary and up and up you will go. I started there and made sure I grew out of the low position as it was crap.

    Eventually you’ll be okay. With black culture, if you build yourself up and you elevate yourself alone, your stuff gets broken, or smashed to bits and you are socially casted from your peers because you don’t share your “good fortune”(I have first hand experience of this, so don’t bother arguing the point) . The result is that people don’t work hard, because their own peers will take away any incentive for doing so. So what other options are available.

    Let everybody strike together and force the farmer to pay everyone a higher salary. But so too, farmers are in competition with each other. If one guy gets away with dismally low wages, the other farms arent making a competitive profit… and so all farms are financially tied to the least moral person.

    To hate the farmer is insane, farmers didn’t create the oversupply of unskilled labor. Not their fault. Farmers didn’t create competitive free market trade… Not their fault.

    Farmers are simply caught in the middle of an inhumane system…

    But whos system is it? The system is designed to bleed profit and send it back to the US/west. So too Zim is a classical example of how the West bleeds profit from failing countries. Simply ask yourself this… Who’s buying Robert Mugabe’s cheap diamonds?

    But back at the cheap labor thing. I don’t recall a single time we ever wanted to employ anyone. People show up begging for anything and eventually you employ them just to help them out.

    We had no problem doing things ourselves. Getting a mb to do a cow run, or dosing animals or sawing down trees with chainsaws… easy peasy. Machinery is reliable and always show up for work and dont stab each other with broken bottles over the weekend. less problems, faster more reliable work/income for the farmer. Even irrigation these days are automated.

    I don’t thing the farmers or the white people you’re referring to, are lazy though…

  2. Bluegrassbaobab Says:

    I don’t think you have a full understanding of the situation at all. It is great to have compassion for the lower earners, but riding people in in buses from other regions is not a local issue but a organized political situation to destabilize the Western Cape and to be a proponent for a ban on South African wine is totally nuts. That will only cause more job losses.

    Why don’t we institute a ban on all things Chinees because those workers are also paid well below western standards and they dont even have any political power at all. Come on get on your soapbox.

    South Africa should be measured against South African standards. And as Andre said, low skilled workers don’t deserve high skill pay. Why dont these unhappy people find another jobs that pays better. The idiots are now burning down their own income. If I was a farmer in the Western Cape and have had striking workers from my farm I will certainly not employ any of them again. It is the same as years back when people in SA cried out about more education and then burn the schools down. Go figure!

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