Another De Doorns protest march planned

2013-01-18 14:21

Cape Town - Striking farmworkers will march in De Doorns next week, not on Friday afternoon, to hand over a "peaceful strike policy", the Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu) said.

"There has been confusion among shop stewards. But this march will take place on January 24 [next Thursday] to the De Doorns police station," Western Cape organiser Sandile Keni said.

"This memorandum calls for both workers and police to stop the violence. One of the reasons is because of the shooting [of rubber bullets] by police."

The strike, which started last year, was suspended in December, but resumed last Wednesday in various towns in the province.


The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) announced a week-long suspension of the strike on Tuesday, on condition that AgriSA honour commitments to "local-level" agreements and agree to stop the victimisation of workers.

Cosatu's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the suspension excluded De Doorns, because workers there were standing by their demands and were not open to negotiations.

AgriSA has repeatedly called for individual farmers to negotiate with their workers at farm level, which is apparently taking place.

Keni said they were planning to meet with a farmer in De Doorns on Friday afternoon, who had approached them and asked to hold a meeting.

"We believe we'll be having an offer, and we appreciate that," Keni said.

A mass meeting would then be held in De Doorns on Sunday.

Fears of farm attacks

The Transvaal Agriculture Union (Tau-SA) said it feared the strike, which had been violent at times, would result in increased violent crime on farms.

"Unfounded accusations blaming farmers [for] exploiting their employees, illegal evictions, or the accusation that farmers have stolen the land to which they [employees] hold title deeds, creates a perception that farmers are criminals who need to be shown no mercy," said Tau-SA deputy president Henry Geldenhuys.

"This is reflected in the extreme cruelty which characterises farm attacks... Farmers need to ensure that their security arrangements are in place."

Geldenhuys said farmers had no choice but to accept responsibility for their own safety, stating that three people had been killed in nine farm attacks this year.

On Monday, spaza shop worker Letsekang Thokoene, 25, died when he was allegedly shot with rubber bullets in De Doorns.

The same day, a 10-year-old girl was apparently shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.

SAHRC investigating

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Thursday said it was investigating over 20 complaints of brutality against farmworkers by police, farmers, and private security.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Moses Dlamini said he had received from the SAHRC numerous reports of cases involving police, mostly of assault and the use of rubber bullets at close range.

The labour department is holding an extra week of public hearings in the province to assist in the determination of a new minimum wage for the sector.

Hearings have already taken place in Grabouw, Paarl, De Doorns, and Robertson, with the last two to be held in Oudtshoorn and Vredendal.

Department spokesperson Mokgadi Pela said an announcement on the new minimum wage determination was expected next month, with effect from 1 March.

  • bradley.kecskes - 2013-01-18 14:39

    lets get the IEDs ready....

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2013-01-18 14:48

    The unions and ban-wagon jumpers cant even reach consensus between themselves, but they want to reach agreements, through negotiations, with the farmers. Bahhhaaaa, Bahhhaaaa, Bahhhaaaaa

  • john.plaatjies.16 - 2013-01-18 15:05

    The South African Human Rights Commision should not only investigate the abuses against farmworkers but what about the violence the strikers cause other people . Cars are stoned and burned and property destroyed. People do have a right to strike but they must also respect others rights not to strike and what if the union leaders that fuel the strikes and violence also not get paid while the strikers don't have income during strikes how many will still ask people not to strike

  • nerina.keet - 2013-01-18 15:06

    Shame on them. If the police don't do anything they are called useless... And if they do something it is called brutality... I want all the brainy people out there to come up with a solution to advise the police exactly what they should do???

      bradley.kecskes - 2013-01-18 15:21

      draw a line and if they cross it...POW!

      may.bee.988 - 2013-01-18 18:11

      Only one way!! Obey the law or pay the price!!

  • herbert.smith.9655 - 2013-01-18 15:11

    I must meet with these "seasonal" workers; they don't even work 12 months a year, yet they are clothed, fed, take time off to protest, stay away from work, vow to do it indeterminately. How the Hell do they succeed at that. I struggle to make it till end of January after a pre-Christmas salary cheque.

      kosie.nel.14 - 2013-01-18 15:25

      It is called "All pay". You need an ID, be "previously disadvantaged" and you need children as evidence, the more the better. Then you queue on the 18 of the month and receive enough to solve that problem. It is even better if you are one of the many "single mothers", a new natural wonder, single sex parenting!

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2013-01-18 15:38

    Well if they dont want rubber bullets used against them what would they prefer?? For every action, agitation in society there has to be a reaction. You cannot have it both ways you thugs.

  • Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-18 15:54

    Striking farmworkers will march in De Doorns next week to hand over a peaceful strike policy Since when are these union's marches peacful?

  • walter.laurie - 2013-01-18 16:17

    The Western Cape should either push for state Federalism, or secede altogether if this state-sponsored abuse continues (and it will..)

  • Russophillia - 2013-01-18 16:48

    Thought we had seen the last of the police state in '94 but alas... " are criminals who need to be shown no mercy..." Criminals with the police under their belt who are equally prepared to show no mercy to peaceful protesters. Honestly, both sides need to stop this senseless violence. But for that to happen, farmers would first need to make some serious concessions.

      leijn.tissink - 2013-01-18 17:10

      violent protesters who destroy property, assault and intimidate people burn cars, throw stones and trash every thing in their way are criminals and be treated as such.

      Stlouis Heidtmann - 2013-01-18 18:15

      dont worry the farmers will buy new farm tech and then the workers can go sit at home with empty wallets and stomachs just like the miners and the rerst of africa you bite the hand that feeds you maybe then they will understand

      metsebeth - 2013-01-22 11:26

      Do you call destroying private property peaceful? Its no different to some-one buldozing your house just cause they dont want you there.

  • craig.pillay.5 - 2013-01-18 17:03

    Did they not see how many miners are about to loose their jobs?

  • luna.moon.5243817 - 2013-01-18 17:43

    the police must really stop firing these rubber bullets..use real bullets, and all this rubbish would have been long gone

  • cemslie - 2013-01-18 22:44

    Oh shame....we dont want runber bullets, but its ok to burn, loot, steal, loot, ransack things that dont beling to you or actually affect the future of ylur employment??? Sorry all, but i just dont get the common sense in all this..... Interesting to note though that ALL media pictures show NO indigenous CAPE residents as being the partakers in this nonsense!!! Makes you wonder!!! Fire the lot and emply locals ONLY!!!

      metsebeth - 2013-01-22 11:23

      I couldn't agree more cemslie... Does make you wonder who the real victims are..want want want ... or else destroy so we all go hungry! What kind or logic is that... oh, I am sorry did I just say logic????

  • desmond.s.leaner - 2013-01-19 14:55

    This is a very confusing situation! The farm-workers are said to be living the life with receiving a good pay for little skills, free accommodation, electricity, food, transport, education for their children and even supplies for the times of the year that they don't work. Yet they waste their wages on parties and cheap alcohol and have more children than they can support. At the same time you have political parties supporting KFC by offering bus-loads of supporters with Streetwise meals in exchange for intimidation of all the farm-workers and violent protests with the possibility of arrest. Furthermore, farmers are struggling to keep their heads above water in their efforts to keep produce affordable for the South African public - the only way to do this is to either keep farm-worker wages intact or raise their selling prices or mechanize or close down farms.

  • metsebeth - 2013-01-22 11:18

    Isn't the following statement on this article a little one-sided? "that AGRI SA honour "local level" agreements...and stop victimisation of farm workers" - excuse me, what about the farmers and store owners who have had thier private property destroyed? They are being victimised! Why not start with the peaceful protest in the beginning? It would have shocked the hell out of me if it actually was peaceful and nothing was destroyed.

  • pages:
  • 1