Police had difficulty dispersing more than 800 protesting farmworkers in Wolseley who burnt tyres and threw stones. A police officer (left) runs from the crowd while a fellow officer prepares to fire at the crowd. Police said 21 people were arrested during protests. Photo: COURTNEY AFRICA

Western Cape - A private security guard shot a senior ANC official in the face on Thursday in the second day of violence during farm workers strikes in the Boland.

ANC Boland regional chairman Pat Marran was shot near De Doorns when he and a friend were confronted by three security guards outside the suburb of Sunnyside Orchard.

“He lowered his shotgun, took out a handgun and aimed it at my face. I starred down the barrel of a gun. He shot me. After I was shot they kicked me as a lay on on the ground,” Marran said on Thursday night.

Marran and his friend had been on their way to the Sunnyside Orchard residential area when three guards confronted them.

“There was argument and one of them said ‘Shoot him, shoot him’. I asked this guard: ‘Do you really want to shoot me?’ That was when he took out his handgun,” Marran said.

He was treated at Worcester Hospital and discharged.

Marran was the man who rescued Cape Times reporter Xolani Koyana and visiting journalism student Aw Cheng Wei from a mob that attacked them in De Doorns on Wednesday and set their car alight.

This incident on Thursday came amid renewed violence in the Boland when fields were set alight, property was damaged and there were clashes between police and farmworkers protesting for higher wages.

De Doorns and Wolseley were the worst-affected areas.


On Thursday morning, protesters gathered on the sports field in De Doorns adjacent to the N1. There was a tense stand-off after protesters sang struggle songs and chanted slurs at police.

About midday police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of about 800 people, who then ran to the Stofland informal settlement, setting tyres and tree stumps alight along their way. Veld fires were started next to the N1 by protesters.

Police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and used a water canon to disperse the crowd, which had increased to more than 4 000 by 3pm.

Protesters, who claimed they were farmworkers, pelted police and Nyalas with stones. They ran in between houses to hide in bushes and in residents’ homes.

The violence continued with protesters throwing stones at photographers and reporters. Police managed to clear the N1 of protesters by 4pm, after which they moved to the Stofland informal settlement and fired rubber bullets at random.

The road was cleared of debris and stones, but remained closed.

In Wolseley, about 800 protesters, who also claimed to be farmworkers, were stopped by police from entering the town centre.

At about 11am, a police Nyala blocked the Pine Valley Bridge on the road that links the area with the town centre.

Groups of about 50 youths ran into Pine Valley graveyard, throwing stones at police. They shouted slurs at photographers and threatened to target them.

An hour after the protest started the police retreated. A police Tactical Response Team was brought in to help disperse the crowd.

Protesters regrouped by 1pm and just 30 minutes later they furiously ran back at police, throwing stones and using zinc sheets to shield themselves against the rubber bullets.

Police spokesman André Traut said protests were reported in Grabouw, De Doorns, Ceres, Barrydale, Bonnievale, Rawsonville and Villiersdorp. In Grabouw a man was shot and taken to hospital when police arrested three people looting a shop.

More than 30 people were arrested on Thursday, compared with the 63 people held on Wednesday for public violence.

Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensberg’s spokesman, Wouter Kriel, said: “We see levels of violence as a barometer of the levels of frustration of workers. We are urging everyone to refrain from violence.”

ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman called for an immediate end to the violence.

He urged police to probe the deployment of people to protect farms. “We must start looking at whether this is an issue of mercenaries being sent.”

Cape Times