A police officer was injured during a farmworkers’ strike in Villiersdorp yesterday, Western Cape police said.

He was struck by stones thrown at a police station, Warrant Officer November Filander said. He was taken to a local hospital.

Police arrested 16 people for public violence in De Doorns, nine in Wolseley, 12 in Villiersdorp, and two in Ladismith. Workers set tyres alight at the police station, but no damage was caused.

“We had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, and arrested 12 people for public violence,” said Filander.

In Wolseley, the situation was similar. Protesters threw stones at police and burnt tyres.

The R43 road in Worcester was closed because burning tyres were strewn across the road.

The Labour Department had extended its public hearings for the review of farmworkers’ minimum wages.

Hearings had been set down for De Doorns, Robertson, Oudtshoorn and Vredendal for the remainder of the week, but venues had yet to be confirmed.

The department held a month-long session of public hearings across the country in November and December.

Farmworkers wanted the daily minimum wage to be increased from R69 to R150.

The Employment Conditions Commission was tasked with reviewing the sectoral determination for agriculture, which stipulates minimum wages, number of leave days, working hours and termination rules, among others.

The sectoral determination was put in place in March and could legally be reviewed again in 12 months. – Sapa