New agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Senzeni Zokwana pays his young cattle herder R800 a month. Vuyolwethu Ndabambi (21) earns about R26 a day and works every day of the week.
The photos below are of the shack in which his former cattle herder, an older man villagers respectfully called Ntate, lived in until November last year.
The iron structure stands on a plot of land which an Eastern Cape village chief has accused Senzeni Zokwana of occupying illegally.
The land is now the subject of a criminal case with Zokwana due to appear in the Willowvale Magistrates’ Court on June 26.
Zokwana confirmed he was using the land – about the size of two soccer fields – on the outskirts of Willowvale’s Fort Malan village, also known as Ntshatshongo village.
He said he was only keeping his cattle there “for now” and insisted that he had followed the proper procedure to obtain the land.
When City Press visited the plot this week, an iron shack in which the herder slept, a kraal and a second shack were seen on the site. The dilapidated structure was furnished with an old bed.
Zokwana confirmed that his former herder, a man from Lesotho, occupied the shack. He said the man had a work permit and was in the country legally.
Zokwana is a member of the SA Communist Party’s central committee and is a former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
He said it was these living conditions that led to him “parting ways” with the worker because he could not allow him to live like that.
“I had to let him go because I could not build a proper structure at the plot due to this dispute with the village chief.
“Although the shack is properly built, it is very cold in winter and I could not allow a person to stay there. I opted for a neighbour who lives in the village and who will not depend on me for accommodation,” Zokwana said.
Ndabambi was hired in November to replace the former herder and said he was grateful to have the job of taking care of the minister’s 19 cattle.
“I am happy to be working here because I was previously unemployed. At least now I get R800 a month to look after the cattle,” he said…
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