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Farmers block road into Ceres

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Ceres, Western Cape - Farmers blocked the only entrance into Ceres from Cape Town with piles of rubble, stones and sand on Wednesday.

Kanonkop farmer Hennie du Preez, one of about 10 involved in blocking the R46, about 25km outside Ceres, said they wanted to protect Breede Valley farms from protesters.

“The reason why we stopped this and blocked the road is just to not have any problems near our farms, to protect our families,” Du Preez said.

“We worked with the police. The police said we can close it down, they had too many problems in town (Ceres) and we closed (the R46) down... to keep everything under control.”

Cars and trucks were parked next to the road.

The farmers said none of their workers were involved in protests and blamed the protest on a political agenda.

Police were not on the scene, but correctional services officials from the Dwarsrivier prison were there to ensure the protesters did not go to the prison 3km away.

Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley had been protesting for over a week about their wages, demanding R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers so far.

Residents set tyres alight in the De Doorns informal settlement, and a road leading into Stofland was blocked by a heap of burning tyres on Wednesday morning.

At Prince Alfred Hamlet in the Overberg, police fired rubber bullets at a group of about 70 farmworkers who pelted them with stones.

Western Cape police said there were many reports of road closures in the province due to the strikes, but could not be specific on which roads were closed. - Sapa


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