Community Development in the Cape Winelands

Solms Delta > Media > Articles > Community Development in the Cape Winelands
January 28th, 2010

Valuable community upliftment initiatives are underway in the Cape Winelands, and serve to empower the farm workers of the region.

In South Africa, many initiatives are underway to help bring transformation and empowerment to previously disadvantaged communities, particularly those in rural areas, where media attention, commercial influence and the support of wealthier communities is often limited.

The Cape Winelands has an especially significant community of historically disadvantaged individuals, many of whom have been living and working at wine estates for generations. While there have been a number of drives in the past aimed at empowering these workers, none has been highly successful. That is, until the establishment of the Wijn de Caab Trust and the Delta Trust, initiatives that are the first of their kind in the famous wine-making region.

Unique initiatives to empower farm workers in the Cape Winelands
The Wijn de Caab Trust was established in 2005 by Solms-Delta wine estate, believed to be one of the most progressive wine farms in South Africa. Essentially, the trust was established to expedite land reform in the region, to empower farm workers through education, and to provide greater job prospects for the local communities in the region. To prove the sincerity of its community development initiatives, the Wijn de Caab Trust of the Solms-Delta wine estate, with the backing of a neighbouring farm, put up the two farms as collateral so that a third farm could be purchased by the farm workers of Solms-Delta.

The action was unprecedented in South Africa. The move offered a truly empowering opportunity for farm workers, and a valuable contribution to social upliftment in the Cape Winelands. The Wijn de Caab Trust holds a 33% stake in Solms-Delta, and every employee stands to benefits from the farm’s successes.

Cape Winelands’ Trusts: Providing education, healthcare and profit sharing to workers
The Wijn de Caab Trust has established several programmes aimed at improving the quality of farm employees’ lives. In particular, training programmes aim to boost employees’ levels of education and train them for jobs other than that of farm workers. Some are trained to be assistant teachers, and are then able to assist the children on the farms with their homework and school projects. Others have received tourism-related training, and work as museum guides or wine-tasting experts.

The Trust has also set up a day-care for workers’ children, and a school facility that serves to assist children with their schoolwork. The Trust ensures that farm workers have access to medical doctors of their choice, and covers 85% of the cost of medical expenses. Proper homes and much-needed recreational facilities have also been established. Farm workers now have access to all the facilities they need to build better lives for themselves and their children, and are empowered through education and profit-sharing.

Supporting development initiatives in the Cape Winelands
The work of the Wijn de Caab Trust has been made possible through the sale of wine, the profit of which is used to fund these worthy undertakings. For the first time in South African history, Cape Winelands’ farm workers have a share in the profits of the region – an area which is recognised as being one of the world’s leading producers of wine.

The Delta Trust, a newer Solms-Delta initiative, was also recently founded, and it aims to build a stronger sense of community in the wine farming region through educational, sporting, social and cultural programmes. Thanks to these progressive initiatives, the community of Solms-Delta is not divided by traditional hierarchies, but rather, is strengthened through common goals and growing successes shared by owners, workers and residents alike.

RSS Feed Subscribe to RSS Feed