An elderly elderly man of 84 years old has reportedly retired from farm work after serving his master for 69 years with R300 all his life.
Mokgwabone Kleinboy Dinake, who turned 84 last week Friday, spent all his active life working for a farm currently run by Boet Terreblanche in Ventersdorp, North West.
He retired last October after he had started working at the farm from the tender age of 15.
Speaking from his rusted corrugated iron shack riddled with small holes that allow wintry winds to flow through, the frail Dinake said he started working on the farm in 1949 when Terreblanche’s father, Andries, employed him to herd goats.
“When Andries was still alive he used to pay me R300 a month. Every year after the harvesting period he would also reward me with 300 bags of maize, which I would sell to the millers to make extra income for myself,” he said while seated on a worn-out couch.
Dinake said when Terreblanche took over the farm after his father’s death in 1999, his wages of R300 did not increase.
Even worse, his 300 bags of maize bonus at the end of the harvesting period was discontinued. The new owner opted to provide two bags of 12.5kg mielie meal a month.
He said Terreblanche did not pay him the whole of 2015, but gave him a cow and calf at the end of the year.
When he finally decided to stop working in October last year, Dinake said he was heartbroken to go on retirement without pension.
“I was very much unhappy because I had dedicated my life working at the farm but my boss failed to acknowledge my many years of contribution by paying me a pension.”
He, however, said he was content with the R300 a month wages in the past years as it took care of his needs.
“Though it [R300] was little, I was happy I was able to provide for my family and the free bags of maize meal helped to cushion us from outright poverty.”
But, according to the department of labour’s website, the minimum wage for farmworkers as from March 1, is R3169.
Terreblanche told Sowetan he had not paid Dinake a pension because he did not have to as when his father died in 1999 and mother in 2007, they each left “something” for Dinake as he was considered to be “like a child in their home”.
However, Dinake denied ever getting anything following the deaths of Terreblanche’s parents.
Terreblanche added that since 2003 Dinake was no longer working at the farm, despite him being present there every day.
Dinake denied this: “When I went on retirement, my job was to help Boet to look after his cattle.”
Terreblanche said: “I support him, I buy him food, I buy him clothing, I buy him shoes. I buy him a fridge, I buy him a stove . I buy him everything he wants.
“I even give him cattle. There’s a lot of cattle he got from me . and he wasn’t working. Since he wasn’t working he’s driving with me in the bakkie the whole day.
“He is more of a brother to me than anyone else.”
He did not deny paying Dinake R300 a month, arguing that he also gave him a cow with a calf. “What’s the price of a cow? It’s about R15000 to R17000, maybe R20000.”