Ehrenreich accused of hate speech

CT ROBERTSON PROTEST 1875 INLSA GROWING ANGER: About 300 people occupied a circle on the R60 in Robertson as protest action by farm workers which started in De Doorns spread yesterday. Photo: Ryan Jacobs

Aziz Hartley

THE Freedom Front Plus is to ask the Human Rights Commission to probe alleged hate speech by Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, in an address to striking farm workers in De Doorns.

FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said yesterday: “According to SMS messages received by the FF Plus as well as quotes on the Facebook page of ‘Cape Independence from South Africa’, Mr Ehrenreich allegedly said to striking farm workers in De Doorns: ‘There is already blood on the farm- workers and unless it stops there will be blood on the farmers of these farms. We will grab the land and give it to the rightful owners.’”

Groenewald said Ehrenreich had continued, saying: “We are here today to declare war. We are against violence, but if this is what it takes to force a bad farmer in a direction, then they should be smashed (moered) in that direction. If farmers continue to violate the rights of our workers like mad dogs then we need to beat them until they stop.”

Ehrenreich denied having made the remarks during the farmworkers’ strike. He said that he recalled having made similar remarks about five years ago and did not remember what had happened to a complaint lodged against him at the time, he said.

A war of words has also erupted between the DA and ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman after DA MP Annette Steyn alleged the strike was part of an ANC campaign to make the province ungovernable.

“It is clear that these strikes and intimidation are politically motivated. They are the latest instalment in the ANC’s Project Reclaim which aims to make the Western Cape ungovernable. It is no coincidence that Marius Fransman has emerged as a central figure in the De Doorns unrest,” Steyn said in a statement.

Fransman hit back, saying the DA was in denial about having some members in its provincial cabinet who sided with farmers.

“The DA in the province and in the National Assembly is clutching at straws.

“The reality is that the Agriculture MEC compromised his role when he said he saw nothing wrong with the wages farmworkers get. Via its MECs the DA has institutionalised in its cabinet the interests of farmers in the Western Cape,” he said.

Health MEC Theuns Botha, Agriculture MEC Gerrit Van Rensburg and Local Government MEC Anton Bredell had farming backgrounds, said Fransman. “The DA must answer why farmers still deduct electricity and rent from farmworkers who earn an already low wage of R69 a day. By stealth farmers take R30 to R40 away from workers. What is the DA government doing about it?” he asked.

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