Farm workers defy call to return to work

2012-11-15 10:59

Striking farm workers have defied a government call to return to work, with labourers demanding action against a police captain over the death of one of their colleagues during clashes.

Workers in the Western Cape town of Wolseley – earlier the scene of deadly violence – marched through the town early today, chanting and singing, despite government announcements that the strike had been suspended.

Government and Cosatu had earlier announced that workers would freeze the strike for two weeks while the sector’s R70 minimum wage is reviewed.

But protesters have insisted they will not return to the fruit-growing region’s farms until they receive a daily wage of at least R150.

“It’s not over for us. We are continuing no matter what. We are going forward no matter what,” said 19-year-old seasonal fruit farm worker Mandla Betshe.

“It’s just a wish for them (for it) to be over. The strike is not finished,” insisted Pieter Opperman (38) who earns R80 a day.

“If we get that settlement of R150, I will go back to work with all my heart. Because then I know I can put food on the table for my family and I can sort myself out.”

The scene early today was tense, with a heavy police presence.

A worker delegation handed a list of demands to police including the suspension of the local police captain, after a 28-year-old man was killed in clashes.

“The most important thing is ... who gave the order to shoot. Obviously someone has to take a responsibility,” said Lamie Mqungquthu, part of the worker delegation.

“Our aim today is to make peace with the police, they must leave the people because all of us have a right” to protest, he said.

Police described the situation as “volatile”, with disturbances in the towns of De Doorns, Ceres and Swellendam.

“Police officers are deployed at all affected areas to maintain law and order, and to protect the public,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut of the Western Cape police.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.