Zille's De Doorns visit disrupted

2012-11-08 15:58
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

De Doorns violence continues

Farm workers in De Doorns, Western Cape, continued their violent strike on Wednesday night. See the pictures.

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille left De Doorns after a small crowd of people became rowdy during her walkabout in the protest-hit area on Thursday.

Zille rejected radio news reports that she had to flee for her own safety from the farm workers.

"I spoke to the people and there was no sense of running away, no sense of fleeing."

Zille and provincial Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg had been walking door-to-door in Stofland, an informal settlement in the town where most of the disgruntled workers lived.

While there, Zille was asked to address a group at a nearby soccer stadium.

The small crowd she was speaking to was initially friendly, but then some of them started chanting the name of expelled African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema.

This growing group then started intimidating the others by dragging them away.

"It was terrifying intimidation for the people who were trying to speak to me," Zille said.

"The people said they wanted to work and the worst aspect is that children can't go to school."

Zille decided it was best to leave and she would return when the situation was not as tense.


According to Van Rensburg's spokesperson Wouter Kriel, Zille earlier met the Table Grape association and the police.

"They have reached a point where they can solve the issues and [where] tensions have been resolved and normality can return," Kriel said.

Workers had gathered on the N1 since Monday. Various protests over labour conditions have resulted in the setting alight of vineyards, and a number of arrests.

The N1 between Touws River and De Doorns remained closed on Thursday as a precautionary measure because of ongoing protests in the area, Western Cape police said.

"The situation in De Doorns is still tense and potentially volatile, and it is being monitored," Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said.

"Police officers are still deployed in the area to maintain law and order. No incidents of violence have been recorded today."

Kriel said farmers had rejected a wage demand of R150 a day by grape harvesters and that talks were to resume in the Worcester civic centre on Friday. He could not provide any more information.

Van Rensburg, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and Sport and Culture MEC Ivan Meyer were sent to the town earlier in the week to quell the unrest.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration was brokering the talks.

According to the agriculture department, De Doorns produces table grapes, predominantly for the export market. This industry supports 8 000 full time workers and 8 000 seasonal jobs in the Hex River Valley.

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.
Read more on:    julius malema  |  dan plato  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  protests  |  farmworker protests  |  labour  |  agriculture

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


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is 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.