Many agric-businesses prefer to invest only in equipment and infrastructure on their farms, rather than in their their employees as well.
However, SAFE believes in investing in its workers, so it is establishing crèches on the farms that didn’t previously have them. In addition, existing crèches are being systematically upgraded and resources are being laid on, according to Dries van Rooyen, SAFE’s general manager of farming operations.
One of the latest to come on stream is the crèche at Oranjestroom in the Northern Cape, where the closest towns are Riemvasmaak and Donkiebond – both around 10km from the farm.
Carl Klindt, general manager at Oranjestroom, says construction of the crèche started in September 2017, and was completed just over a month later in October.
“Before the crèche was built we used one of the rooms in the compound next to the toilets, so this is a significant improvement,” says Klindt.
The crèche has one classroom and two cloakrooms with hand washing facilities. There is also a kitchen where staff prepare food for the children daily.
The attached clinic is open one day a month for community health care and during the week the smaller children take their afternoon naps here.
“There are 12 children attending the crèche and after school care facility, and ages range from two to 12 years. Their parents all live and work on the farm.”
Klindt says that Oranjestroom is on the lookout for a teacher to run the crèche and after school care facility.
“Because we are so far from the nearest big towns it’s been a challenge so far to find a suitable person,” he says. “We are hoping to get someone soon, but until we do, we have a temporary assistant keeping a watchful eye on our children.
“SAFE sees this as an investment in its employees, and along with training, that is one of the best long-term cost-saving schemes any management could hope for.”