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CCMA case against Zanthe Fresh

Publication: CWAO and SWF
Author: Press Office

Casual workers affiliated with the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) and Simunye Workers' Forum (SWF) have won a case in the CCMA against Zanthe Fresh, a farm on the West Rand that refused to pay workers the legal minimum wage since June 2023.

Zanthe Fresh is a company that farms vegetables and supplies Woolworths and other chain stores. The short-paid workers were involved in planting, harvesting, deliveries, and work in the cold room.

The Johannesburg CCMA ordered Zanthe Fresh’s owner, Jan Breeweg, to pay more than R81 000 to 21 workers to whom he failed to pay the minimum wage in July and September 2023.

During this time, Breeweg had paid half the workforce the old 2018 National Minimum Wage of R18.68, even though he was told this was illegal. He was clearly taking advantage of the fact that most of the workers he was underpaying were vulnerable workers from Malawi.

Breeweg did not show up for the CCMA hearing. CCMA Commissioner Gloria Trinity Ncala said Breeweg had chosen not to pitch up at the CCMA, and that she found the testimony of the main applicant, Thomas Maluleke, “to be reliable, credible, and probable”. She therefore ruled that Beweeg owed the group of workers outstanding monies and that he must make the payments by 10 November.

However, immediately after the ruling, workers said Breeweg phoned them and said he didn’t owe them anything and would not pay.

CWAO organiser Joshua Hlungwani who brought the case to the CCMA says “The issue of short payment of salaries started from June 2023 and we have been writing letters regarding this matter but the employer chose not to respond to our letters”.

“On the issue of not showing up, he is not doing it for the first time because last year workers referred a case of non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act and one at the Labour Court. Breeweg also did not show up there” said Hlungwani.

Breeweg was well aware that he was flouting the law because this was brought to his attention many times. It is an indictment on the woeful state of our labour inspection service that Beweeg has indicated that he will continue to breach the Minimum Wage Act.

Zanthe Fresh is yet another example of the complete indifference of the Department of Employment and Labour to enforcing the National Minimum Wage Act. …/ends

For comment, please call:
Thomas Maluleke (Main Applicant) – 072 949 3775
Joshua Hlungwani (CWAO Organiser) – 072 550 3373