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Issue 5 | May 2021
In this issue:

Competency Training for Social (Ethical) Auditors - 2021

We try to hide our feelings but we forget that our eyes speak...

It often happens that auditors are caught in between the perception of the auditee and the real intentions behind an audit. There are so many factors that influence how the auditee feels on the day, but similarly, there are also many factors that influence the feelings of the auditor. Let’s face it – nobody enjoys being evaluated. The intention should never be for auditors to criticise or restrain a person or business. Despite the number of ethical audits that might have been conducted by an auditor, the auditor is still required to interact and work with people, which can be an understandably difficult job. People are diverse and different, and one person’s comfortable warmth is someone else’s sweltering heat, and someone’s minor inconvenience is someone else’s insurmountable obstacle. Sometimes it is about a difference in opinion, and other times we just do not get along, no matter how many times we try.

For SIZA there has always been a very strong focus on highlighting the auditors’ role as supplementary to the process of driving continuous improvement and not only utilising the outcome of the audit as a way to determine right and wrong. For SIZA it is important that auditors maintain integrity and remain professional during SIZA audits.

Remember that the auditee is most likely not excited about the audit, stressed and hesitant to undergo the process. As the auditors’ job is to evaluate and report on the current practices within that business on the day(s) of the audit, the expectation is still to maintain a decent and professional interaction with the member during this evaluation. There will be times when the auditee and the auditor will not get along, but as a collective, we need to work together to achieve the end goal which is driving continuous improvement within the South African agricultural industry.

Remember the words of Temitope Ibrahim which was presented to you during the auditors training: “Influence is when you are not the one talking and yet your words fill the room: when you are absent and yet your presence is felt everywhere”.
Social Auditor Training
SIZA hosted its annual social auditor training from the 21st to the 23rd of April via a live and interactive online webinar. During the webinar, some interesting topics were addressed. Insights were given from an industry’s perspective, buyer’s point of view, as well as experts within a particular area/topic. Over the three days, some important topics were discussed and highlighted.

SIZA would like to thank all the speakers and trainers for contributing to the training with compelling and informative presentations. It was an honour to have you all as part of this event. 

With help from experts, please see the answers to the questions below. Thank you to Francois Brink (Skyvines), Henk Jooste (Skyvines) and Ninon Swart (Bloem, Swart & Associates) for their inputs and expertise in answering the questions.

Click on "Read more" below to see the answers to these questions:
  1. What happens when a Temporary Employment Service (TES) has a valid SIZA audit in place?
  2. Is a shower required if there is running water within 10 meters of the chemical storage facility?
  3. Is a deduction for communal accommodation “per roof” or per room?
  4. What is the producer's legal obligation when workers are transported by specific taxi companies? Who is liable in case of accidents?
  5. Fire Safety: It is not always practical to establish risk and raise a finding when "Long Hostels” are observed that only have one entrance/exit. Should a finding be raised in terms of fore safety as it is not practically possible to add an additional door/entryway.
  6. To whom does the responsibility fall when it comes to the cleanliness and hygiene of employee accommodation?
  7. Can 20 litre plastic and metal chemical containers be stored directly on the floor?
  8. Should the door of a chemical store be made from steel or can a wooden door be painted with fire resistant paint?
  9. It is sometimes noted that employees stand on the back of the slow-moving trailer with full crates as it is deemed by the farm not practical for employees to walk all the way back to offload the crates. Would this practice be acceptable?
  10. When is a stacking permit required?
  11. When workers are contracted for 9 hours per day, and they perform piece work for only 5 hours per day, must they be paid for 5 hours or 9 hours?
  12. If the employment contract makes provision for the Extension of Ordinary Working Hours, as allowed for by SD13, does this mean it is acceptable that 45 normal hours must first be worked in full, before any applicable overtime will be payable?
  13. An employee is contracted for 45 hours per week and no reference to daily working hours. The employee works 3 hours overtime on Monday; works for 4 hours on Tuesday because of rain; sick on Wednesday; 9 hours on Thursday and Friday. The contract says normal hours are 45 hours per week and that overtime will be paid after 45 hours per week are worked. When is overtime payable? After the contracted 45 hours per week? Or the hours worked per day?
  14. Must seasonal workers be paid when they are contracted for 3 months and one of the days fall on a public holiday?
  15. What does the law state regarding roll-over contracts? When must an employee become permanent? I.e., the employee has returned to the same place of work for 5 years but is still contracted on a fixed-term contract.
  16. If pickers are picked up in the morning and arrive at the workplace at 07:00, but only start to work at 10:00, will these pickers need to be paid for the three hours before 10:00?
  17. In cases of work stoppages, must an employee be paid for a minimum of four hours if they arrive at work, but perhaps due to rainy weather, work is stopped within one hour of arrival?
Leave a positive and motivated workforce behind
During the recent SIZA Social Auditor training, a session was held on how auditors influence the employees during an audit and more importantly, the impact auditors have on the whole business. The discussion emphasised that auditors have an influence on everyone in the business, all the way from HR, finance, and the agri-workers, to the employers or owners. The impact is enormous and the preparation for the audit in the preceding months can cause a lot of anxiety and challenges to the auditee. Auditors need to remain aware that they have an influence, directly and indirectly, and that auditors should strive to leave a positive and motivated workforce once they leave the premises after an audit. This is especially true for auditors’ interaction with the workforce. There should always remain an awareness of restoring and protecting a very valuable relationship between the employee and the employer.

The experience must drive continuous improvement and even though one of the hardest skills is to effectively communicate with a variety of people in a business, the auditor should utilise their skillset to listen effectively, be aware of their body language, have understanding for the situations and communicate in line with the integrity of the SIZA programme.

SIZA would like to thank Rowen Markie, from United Exports, for her insightful presentation on such an important topic and we would like to thank each and every auditor who attended the training.

Read more >
Contact details:
Werner van Dyk
Tel: +27(0)21 852 8184
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