Western Cape - Investors confidence and the international image of the Western Cape could suffer irreparable damage should the violent farmworker protest continue unabated, says Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.

Bredell warned that international investors were watching the strike carefully and urged striking farmworkers to refrain from further violence.

Speaking at the Western Cape’s joint operations centre at Tygerberg Hospital on Wednesday, Bredell said: “Picking up the pieces (after the protest) would be a long and hard process.

“This has affected relationships, not only between farmworkers and their employers but between (the Western Cape) and investors,” Bredell said.

But in a statement on Wednesday, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said workers in a number of towns had vowed to intensify the strike with further action on Thursday.

Ehrenreich said the response from the strikers showed that Agri-SA was completely out of touch with modern industrial-relations challenges in agriculture.

Porchia Adams, a spokeswoman for farmers’ group Agri Wes-Cape, said 80 percent of permanently employed farm workers in the fruit-growing area had turned up for work on Wednesday.

She said most of those who did not, did not live on the farms. She claimed they had been coerced into staying away from work.

Cape Argus