Tyres burn in Stofland

2342283 INLSA

Residents set tyres alight in a De Doorns informal settlement in the Western Cape today

A road coming off a bridge into Stofland was blocked by a heap of burning tyres, sending a thick black plume of smoke into the air.

A few residents milled around the tyres, with an armoured police Nyala parked nearby.

Farmworkers protested over wages and living conditions in the verdant Hex River valley last week.

Workers, who earned around R70, wanted R150 a day.

The N1 highway leading into De Doorns was closed during the violence, in which vineyards were set alight and stones thrown.

The highway was open on Wednesday morning, with trucks passing through with fruit and other cargo. Fruit stalls and roadside shops were closed.

The portion of the national road past De Doorns was marked with black circles, indicating where police had earlier removed burning tyres.

A few police vehicles were in the area.

Western Cape police said no violence occurred overnight in the farming community.

“The situation is... being monitored by police,” De Doorns police station spokesman Lindikhaya Mkhontwana said. He said various arrests were made yesterday.

Food and Allied Workers' Union president Attwell Nazo and general secretary Katishi Masemola would later address workers in Ceres and De Doorns. They would hold a meeting at the Ceres taxi rank at 11.30am and then proceed to the Stofland stadium in De Doorns at 1.30pm.

The leaders were expected to tell the crowd about the government's response to their demands.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson visited the area yeserday, where she said she would pass on their grievances to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. She asked workers to return to farms.

Very few farm workers could be seen in the vineyards around De Doorns today.

Sapa


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