Zille sounds the alarm on farm worker protests

2012-11-14 14:10

As Western Cape farm workers continue to protest, the province could become rife with anarchy, premier Helen Zille has said.

The DA leader said in statement that she had sent ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman an SMS detailing her concerns.

The SMS read: “We are heading towards anarchy. 1000s of jobs will be lost and an industry potentially destroyed. I am receiving horrific reports of farm worker intimidation. (Labour Minister Mildred) Oliphant must be recalled from abroad and begin negotiations on the national minimum wage with all stakeholders.

“It is essential that we remove politics from this matter and stabilise the situation. That is the call you must make. I am extremely worried that lives are in danger and that people will retaliate.”

Zille said later in the statement that Fransman had to distance himself from alleged incitement in the province by Cosatu.

Last Wednesday, Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said talks about the protest had to find a way for workers to get decent wages.

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

Freedom Front Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said yesterday the party would ask the SA Human Rights Commission to investigate the “correctness” of statements attributed to Ehrenreich.

According to Groenewald, Ehrenreich allegedly told farmers: “There is already blood on the farm workers and unless it stops, there will be blood on the farmers of these farms.”

Yesterday Zille said she asked President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the De Doorns farm workers’ wage dispute and had called for the defence force to get involved.

Farm workers continued protests in the Western Cape and burned tyres this morning while police fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd.

Police spokesperson Constable Lybey Swartz could not confirm this, saying no reports had reached the Western Cape media centre.

Farm workers in the area started protesting last week in demand of a R150-a-day wage and better working conditions.

Last Thursday, Zille was heckled by supporters of expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema while visiting the area.

She had to be escorted away by police when her entourage was pelted with stones by the striking farm workers.

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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 a...read 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 24.com 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.