AWB man charged in Western Cape

2012-12-06 18:00
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Cape Town - An Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) member appeared in the Worcester Magistrate's Court on Thursday for alleged possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.

Charl Smal, 43, was granted bail of R1 500 and was told to return to court on 18 January, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Smal was one of seven men arrested in a routine roadblock on the N1 on Tuesday morning, during farmworker protests.

Police said the men were driving towards De Doorns when their car was searched. An unlicensed .308 Mauser and 60 rounds of ammunition were found.

Six of the men were released after an investigation.

AWB leader Steyn van Ronge confirmed that Smal was a member.

Table grape harvesters began protesting in De Doorns in early November for a wage of R150 a day and improved living conditions. The protests soon spread to 15 other towns, leading to violence and two deaths.

Farmworkers suspended the strike until Tuesday to allow the Employment Conditions Commission to review the sectoral determination for agriculture, which stipulates minimum wages, number of leave days, working hours, and termination rules among others.

However, many workers resumed the strike after Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said it would be impossible to address their demands by their Tuesday deadline.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions announced on Tuesday that the strike had ended after it came to an agreement with Agri-SA to conduct negotiations on a farm-by-farm basis.

Talks would be about the wage demand and a profit-sharing scheme.

If no agreement was reached by 9 January, workers on those farms would strike again.

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