I couldn’t but smile when it came to light as a terrible shame that Minister Senzeni Zokwana is only paying his cattle herder R26 per day. His excuse, although ridiculed by most, rings so true to the reality of real-life South Africa.
He apparently stated that he was only a mine worker when he appointed the cattle herder and could not afford the national minimum wage. On the one hand his union was fighting for higher wages for him (and we are all watching the tragedy unfolding in Rustenburg) but he could only pay what he could afford. Ironic.
My point for many years has been that labour laws intends well but is far to onerous on small and emerging employers. So what if he earned R26 per day. Nobody forced him to accept the job. He was not chained to a post and although not much, it is still better than nothing.
It seems that the general misconception exists that all employers are rich and only offer employment to exploit workers. If that theory held any water all workers are exploited in South Africa. Sitting in traffic every morning, paying tolls to get to work, being taxed directly and indirectly is nothing but exploitation. Or Is it? Are they not part of the rat race out of their own free will? Is anybody forcing them to get up at five every morning?
With our unemployment standing at an official 25% and probably closer to 45%, I suggest that people should work where they can find a job. The alternative will be a nation living on social grants and a few hard working people supporting them all.
I say: make any employer employing less that ten people exempt from all labour laws. If any worker feels exploited, resign and leave. Seriously.