It is important for producers to remain aware of all the SIZA requirements, but more particularly some of the more prevalent high-risk areas. This will allow producers to gain a better understanding of areas where they can place more focus and mitigate the possibility of severe risks within their own business.
Over the period of 1 April 2021 to 31 August 2021, auditors reported 25 critical non-compliances.
Ten of the 25 critical non-compliances have been resolved in full and the remaining 15 are in the process of implementing adequate corrective action. The critical findings were raised in the categories Management Systems; Health & Safety, Wages, Benefits, and Terms of Employment; and Working Hours.
The Critical non-compliances were raised on the following:
- 7 findings: Employees are not paid as per the National Minimum Wage Act per hour, but per piece-rate system. This results in underpayment of piece-rate employees for work conducted and, in some cases, disciplinary wage deductions for quality issues during picking.
- 4 findings: Unsecured, unlabelled and inadequate management of chemical storage facilities and containers, inadequate PPE etc.
- 3 findings: Employees worked excessive overtime hours resulting in employees not receiving the legally required rest periods between shifts (daily and weekly).
- 3 finding: Inadequate due diligence system in place to monitor labour service providers resulting in insufficient evidence to verify hours worked, whether minimum wage is being paid or whether employees receive leave benefits.
- 3 finding: Inadequate management and oversight on machinery and equipment on site, i.e., tractors not services, broken PTO covers, broken equipment, inadequate risk assessment etc.
- 2 finding: Seasonal employees receive no payslips, inadequate monitoring of hours, wages cannot be correctly determined, along with rest breaks, overtime is incorrectly managed etc.
- 2 findings: Accommodation does not meet minimum health and safety standards, i.e., broken toilets, no gender separation in bathrooms, insufficient bathroom facilities, broken electrical installations, insufficient fire-fighting equipment available, waste areas unhygienic, occupants sleep on the floor, etc.
- 1 finding: No contracts in place, inadequate management of rest periods (daily and weekly), overtime payment not according to law and insufficient payment for public holidays.
Social (Ethical) Audit Findings per Category:
The following non-conformances were raised during 270 third-party audits between 1 April 2021 and 31 August 2021 per category in the SIZA Social (Ethical) Standard. Most non-conformances (58,99%) fell in two categories, namely:
- Health & Safety (38,99%); and
- Wages, Benefits, and Terms of Employment (20%).
- Lack of implementation and training among workers on the SIZA Standard. (58 findings)
- Inadequate Social Accountability/Fair Labour Practice policy. (33 findings)
- Inadequate procedures in place to evaluate whether Temporary Employment Service providers meet the requirements of the SIZA Standard. (26 findings)
Forced and Bonded Labour:
- Lack of management training on forced & bonded labour. (83 findings)
- Inadequate procedure documenting which steps would be taken if forced & bonded labour is found. (64 findings)
- Inadequate housing agreements. (35 findings)
Child Labour & Young Workers:
- Lack of evidence that sites inform Temporary Employment Service providers of the child labour policy. (14 findings)
- Inadequate child labour and young worker policy. (12 findings)
- Contracts of young workers do not meet legislative requirements (5 findings)
Freedom of Association:
- Lack of evidence of regular communication between management and the workforce. (24 findings)
- Worker committees are not elected democratically, and workers do feel that the worker committee is effective in its purpose. (14 findings)
- Details of workers representatives are not displayed in the workplace. (23 findings)
Discrimination, Harassment & Abuse:
- Inadequate or ineffectively implemented grievance procedure. (62 findings)
- Ineffective systems in place for the promotion and implementation of employment equity in the workplace. (48 findings)
- Permanent employment is not made available to all workers regardless of gender, racial identity, or other arbitrary grounds. (29 findings)
Health and Safety:
- Unhygienic conditions at communal accommodation facilities and facilities which do not meet minimum requirements. (78 findings)
- Inadequate health and safety risk assessments conducted. (71 findings)
- Ineffective management of health and safety. (68 findings)
Wages, Benefits & Terms of Employment:
- Inadequate contracts of employment provided to employees and payslips which do not contain all the legislatively required information. (116 findings)
- Inadequate payslips or payslips not provided at the end of each pay period. (86 findings)
- Worker personal and contact information not captured and verified during recruitment. (64 findings)
- Overtime exceeds legal limits during peak season. (63 findings)
- Inadequate or no rainy-day policy in place. (51 findings)
- Rest periods and meal intervals managed ineffectively or not granted in accordance with legislation. (41 findings)
Environmental Audit Findings per Category:
As third-party audits serve an immensely important purpose in providing an overall risk-based evaluation on practices within a business, the essence of maintaining an environmentally sustainable business begins with one’s attitude and belief system towards the environment. Understanding which areas remain non-compliant provides an overview to businesses to better understand why it is important to care for the environment and make it part of continuous oversight which will drive more effective farming practices throughout the business. This section provides insight into areas that are often non-compliant and result in environmental sustainability becoming neglected.
Most non-conformances (62,31%) fell in two categories, namely:
- Minimizing Negative Impacts (31,88%); and
- Shifting to Alternatives (30,43%)
- Environmental management policies and procedures are not communicated to staff effectively.
- Inadequate policy on environmental management.
Minimizing Negative Impacts:
- Inadequate measures applied to prevent water contamination as a result of run-off of chemicals, mineral and organic substances, including all nutrient management, crop protection and agrochemical related substances.
- There is no evidence detailed in a map on proactive restoration and conservation of natural areas (including biodiversity priority areas & native vegetation corridors) that have been impacted by farming activities.
Measured and Efficient Use:
- No evidence of annual carbon footprint calculations.
- Not all waste streams are recycled, measured and recorded.
Shifting to Alternatives:
- No evidence is available that a carbon footprint was completed for the last 3 years.
- Inadequate record-keeping of waste sources and waste quantities going to landfill.
Restore and Conserve Ecosystems:
- No farm map available that includes the information from the biodiversity assessment, areas of high risk and priority areas for restoration/conservation activities, both land and water.