Man dies during farming protests

2012-11-14 13:45
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Wolseley goes up in flames

Protesters in the Winelands stoned and burnt police vehicles, looted shops and blockaded roads with stones and burning tires. Click here to view

Cape Town - A 28-year-old man died during protest action by farmworkers in Wolseley, police said on Wednesday.

Five other people were injured during the same incident. Unconfirmed reports say the man's family is blaming the incident on the police.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said the widespread unrest is affecting their response time.

The man's death will be investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

Ongoing protests

Earlier on Wednesday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille called for SANDF members to be called into the Hex River valley where violent protests were ongoing as police were "stretched thin".

"I have been in contact with the provincial and national police commissioners calling for the SANDF to be deployed. Police stretched thin [sic]," Zille tweeted.

According to reports on Wednesday, protests were taking place in 16 towns across the province and several workers had been arrested for public violence.

Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley have been protesting for over a week about their wages, demanding R150 a day. Most earn between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers so far, Sapa reported.

In Piketberg, on the Cape West Coast, workers gathered outside one of the farms in the area amid a heavy police presence.

They were bussed in or arrived on foot from the surrounding farms in the area.

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Read more on:    helen zille  |  cape town  |  labour  |  protests  |  farmworker protests  |  strikes
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