Talks underway in De Doorns protest

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de doorns nov 7

CAPE ARGUS

Tensions ran high in De Doorns as farmworkers waited for resolution of a wage dispute. Photo: Jason Boud

Cape Town - Talks will take place between farmers and their workers in De Doorns, Western Cape on Wednesday morning following violent protests, Cosatu said.

Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said they would join the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration at 11.20am to facilitate negotiations at the Worcester civic centre.

“These negotiations must find a way in which workers can get decent wages and end the atrocious living conditions of workers on farms and in the informal areas,” Ehrenreich said.

“The ill treatment and under-payment of workers by some farmers must stop, otherwise we will see a Marikana in De Doorns.”

Cosatu said it would make sure protests were peaceful.

Workers had gathered on the N1 highway since Monday, resulting in 30 hectares of vineyards being burned, and several arrests. On Tuesday, around 8000 workers gathered in the small town before protesting, forcing the temporary closure of the N1 between De Doorns and Touws River.

A farmer was arrested during the day for attempted murder after he allegedly shot at protesting workers.

Police spokesman Lt-Col Andrè Traut said two people were arrested on Tuesday after looting a bottle store.

“The situation in De Doorns is still being monitored, and no violence or incidents have been reported today (Wednesday).”

Both the Democratic Alliance and provincial agriculture MEC believed the protest was politically motivated.

DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer blamed the African National Congress.

“It is very clear to me that much of the protest in this area is politically motivated, and the local ANC... once again played a large role in inciting the violence and vandalism,” he said on Tuesday.

Wouter Kriel, spokesman for agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg, on Tuesday said there did not seem to be people leading the protest and no list of demands was handed out.

“This is not a labour strike and (is) not organised by farm workers, even though farm workers are involved. It seems to be politically motivated,” Kriel said. - Sapa


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