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Cape Town - A De Doorns ANC ward councillor says he is sorry he did not “moer” (beat up) a farmer during an altercation in the midst of the farmworkers’ strike last year.
A statement issued earlier this week by the ANC’s Western Cape office indicates that tension between Pat Marran, councillor in the Breede Valley, and some farmers persists.
Marran is quoted in the statement saying that the feud had reached his children’s classrooms, with rumours allegedly circulating that the farmers would eventually “sort him out”.
Now a farmer has accused Marran of trying to foment trouble in the presently peaceful valley.
The fallout harks back to November last year, when Marran established himself as a vocal proponent of a higher minimum wage for farmworkers, while simultaneously slamming farmers for alleged abuses they meted out to workers.
Marran was one of the first people to be quoted on behalf of farmworkers when the strike began, with thousands of protesters blocking the N1, burning vineyards and looting shops.
Three weeks later Marran was in an altercation with three of the valley’s farmers including Jacques Beukes of Modderdrift.
Beukes alleges that Marran pushed him, aggravating a neck injury which Beukes had sustained in a car crash a few months earlier.
When the Cape Argus spoke to Beukes after the alleged assault, he was wearing a neckbrace. Marran has denied that he committed any harm, claiming: “Because of (these) false allegations I became a target for farmers, right-wing groups and security companies appointed by them during the farmworker strikes.”
Marran was speaking after being informed by his lawyer that a civil claim for medical expenses, lodged against him by Beukes, had been withdrawn.
Beukes did not comment on the civil claim, but acknowledged the existence of rift between him and Marran.
He added, however, that the farmers in the valley were peaceful and did not want any trouble.
He accused Marran of fostering antagonism unnecessarily, by making inflammatory public statements.