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Cape Town - The DA has laid incitement of violence charges against Western Cape Cosatu secretary Tony Ehrenreich after a poster equating the farm strikes in the province to the Marikana massacre recently surfaced.
The poster, which was circulated by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), calls on workers in the province to join a picket to the provincial legislature on Friday to show their “disgust at the apartheid-style persecution of professionals”.
The poster stated, at the bottom, “FEEL IT!!! Western Cape Marikana is here!!” The DA said this would incite violence in the province.
Ivan Meyer, MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport and provincial DA leader, laid the charges on behalf of the party and said that “asking for Marikana to come to the Western Cape” would incite violence because people died in Marikana. Thirty-four miners lost their lives after clashes with police.
“Tony Ehrenreich seems intent on creating the climate that led to the violent and tragic clashes between police and workers at Marikana.”
Meyer said Ehrenreich must be punished for this “despicable display of violence”.
“We don’t want Marikana in the Western Cape, the farmers and farmworkers are happy here… the ANC just wants people to get hurt,” Meyer said.
Nehawu provincial secretary Luthando Nogcinisa said the DA should not take issue with Ehrenreich and if they want to take any action they should take action against Nehawu.
“We are not intimidated by this. if the DA wants to take action they must take it against us,” Nogcinisa said. He explained that the poster had no intention of inciting violence.
“The poster simply meant that what we are calling for is defiance. We are determined to defy the instructions of the provincial government,” Nogcinisa said.
Ehrenreich said the DA has “run out of ideas” and that the charges were frivolous.
“I used Marikana as a parallel to what’s happening at the farms because workers went ahead without the guidance of unions and the danger for things getting out of hand is greater, without unions,” Ehrenreich said.
He added that he was prepared to go to court over the matter.
“I can’t wait to get to court and I will then sue [Zille] for frivolous charges,” Ehrenreich said.