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More than 80 striking farmworkers in the Western Cape have been arrested as protests for 2013 reached went into its second day. Watch.WATCH
Cape Town - Riot police kept watch amid tensions in the Western
Cape winelands on Saturday as talks continued to end a deadlock between
striking farmworkers and employers.
Authorities recorded only one incident of violence in a
second day of general calm following two days of wage demonstrations. These saw
police unload a barrage of rubber bullets, water cannon and tear gas at
hundreds of stone-throwing protesters.
"This morning at around 06:00 in De Doorns three people
wearing balaclavas hijacked a truck after the driver had picked up farm
workers," said police spokesperson November Filander.
The hijackers then set fire to the truck after driving to a
nearby town, he told AFP.
Police arrested 125 people for public violence since the
strikes started on Wednesday, said Filander.
The provincial leader of Cosatu said stoppages would carry
"There's been no solution, the strike continues,"
Tony Ehrenreich told AFP.
"There will be wage settlements in different
areas," he said.
But one farmer accused the unions of playing politics.
"I earlier offered them R105 a day. I renewed the offer
this time round and [the unions] said it could work," said Gerhard de
Kock, a prominent farmer in De Doorns.
"But they're not interested in a deal. They want to
change the minimum wage to R105. They want to show the government the figure is
affordable," De Kock told AFP.
Around 80% of permanent farm workers have shunned the
strike, according to farmers.
Workers currently earn R69 a day. Angry at abysmal living
standards and vast wealth disparities between white landowners and black
labourers, they are demanding a doubling of minimum wages to R150 a day - a
figure farmers say they can't afford.
So far talks to end the violent wage dispute have stumbled
amid the constraints of existing wage agreements, power struggles among unions
and differing stances taken by individual farmers.
- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
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Cane Corso says...
Ironically hypocritical that this is an acceptable norm down here. Not bigoted at all.
Read the article...
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