Table grape farm opens R30m agri-worker housing development

Friday, August 3, 2018

A group of 30 farm workers at Nieuwe Sion table grape farm in Simondium, Paarl, has become the proud owners of a purpose built R30 million agri-worker housing development.

This is all thanks to the owners of the farm, Dr David and his wife Elaine Potter from England, who resolved to create an environment that would leave their workers better off than when they joined the farm.

The Potters joined the Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA) and took their vision further in May 2015 by launching a R30 million housing development aimed at giving their workers access to the property market. 

Speaking at the opening of a farm early this week, table grape farm manager Fielies du Toit said the Potters’ vision of empowering their workers moves beyond the payment of living wages and the creation of a safe and worker friendly production environment.

“Their ultimate goal is to help workers and their families, especially their children, become less dependent on the farm for their financial wellbeing by giving them access to the mainstream economy,” Du Toit said. 

Dr Potter said they are proud to be able to “gift” this development to the farm workers, who must use it as a space to support and uplift each other.

“The complex was designed to meet the wishes of all, which is to keep the community of workers together,” Dr Potter said

Speaking on behalf of farm workers, Paul Morris, who has 30 years of service on the farm, thanked the Potters for “opening their hearts” and uplifting them.

“We really appreciate the gift of our new houses. It is a huge opportunity for us. We will look after it,” Morris said.

Nieuwe Sion is a 70-hectare table grape, nectarine and soft citrus farm in Simondium in the Western Cape.

The new complex has been named Lumier to signify a new dawn in the lives of the workers.

The complex will supply housing to 140 people, with 22-two to three-bedroomed houses, varying between 60 and 70 square metres, as well as eight annexed buildings, with single quarters for retired workers.

The complex also include a crèche and aftercare facilities for workers’ children, a community centre and sports field -- all designed with the input and needs of the farmworkers being addressed. -