Cops fire on Robertson farmworkers

2013-01-16 14:39

Cape Town - Protesting Western Cape farmworkers were injured by rubber bullets in Robertson on Wednesday, the Mawubuye Land Rights Forum said.

The forum's Denia Jansen said the Robertson police captain had apparently agreed to allow farmworkers to peacefully protest in Nkqubela in the morning, with more than 800 workers taking part.

"Shortly into the protest, other police officers entered the road with guns and opened fire [with rubber bullets] on the protesters, forcing them back into their communities," she said.


Captain Marshall Klaasten, Robertson's station commander, denied this version of events, saying no permission was ever given.

He said protesters blocked a busy traffic circle in town and he asked them to move so that cars could pass through.

The group refused and he had a discussion with his peers, eventually returning to tell them they could not protest.

"The negotiations lasted from 06:20 to 10:05. They agreed to walk back to the township. When they entered, they started throwing stones at police from their houses. A lot of public were around," Klaasten said.

He said rubber bullets were fired in retaliation to protect civilians.

Jansen said the forum had phoned the Human Rights Commission to "look into the matter".

She said workers had agreed to issue letters to the 32 farmers in the area, asking for negotiations around their daily wage demand of R150.

Farmworkers went on strike last year to demand their daily wage be increased from R69 to R150, and that a coherent land reform programme be implemented.

The strike was suspended in December, but resumed on Wednesday last week in various towns in the province.

Clanwilliam deal

According to the Congress of SA Trade Unions, a wage deal of R105 a day was brokered with a "significant amount" of farmers in Clanwilliam on Tuesday.

He said this was a model agreement that could be used in other towns to possibly end the strike, which had been violent at times.

The labour department is hosting an extra set of public hearings this week to garner opinions of directly affected workers, amid a review of the sector's minimum wage.

Labour standards director Titus Mtsweni said the process of writing up a report on the outcome of last year's public hearings was already underway.

Hearings would take place in De Doorns, Robertson, Oudtshoorn and Vredendal.

Principal provincial traffic inspector Jacques Mostert said the N1 remained closed at De Doorns, the epicentre of protest action.

He said motorists would have to take the Orchards offramp to get to De Doorns.

On Wednesday morning, there were reports of stones being thrown at cars by protesters in Wolseley.

Mostert said no casualties were reported.

Sporadic incidents

Western Cape police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said there were sporadic reported incidents involving striking workers in some areas on Wednesday.

"Members are deployed in all these affected areas to ensure the safety of all. The police and other law enforcement agencies will continue to monitor the situation and act where the situation requires it.

Bronagh Casey, spokesperson for education MEC Donald Grant, said schools and their transport schemes were operating as usual in the Cape Winelands district.

"All schools have high attendance, except for one in De Doorns, which is just over 50% capacity. This school is operating as per normal though," she said.


  • kalabafazi - 2013-01-16 14:47

    All these strikes are having a severe impact on SA's economy and future growth. Aleady our Credit rating have dropped twice in less than a year. AMPLATS is looking to retrench 14 000 workers with other mining companies set to follow. And the governments response is insinuating that it would be better if these companies left SA. I swear zuma and his cabinet need to shot at with rubber bullets.

  • hilton.preston - 2013-01-16 14:57

    stop calling them farmworkers, they are bussed in Cosatu/ANC members with instructions to cause havoc! I live in this area and most farmworkers are in fact at work.

  • kalabafazi - 2013-01-16 14:58

    Ah, the news 24 moderators are back at "work". Work that delete button.

  • franklyn.davies.1 - 2013-01-16 14:58


  • hudayfah.newman - 2013-01-16 15:00

    Protest peacefully This had to be tongue in cheek.No other explanation.

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2013-01-16 15:02

    There was World War 2, who said there can't be Marikana 2? LNN

  • stan.luthuli - 2013-01-16 15:07

    suffer the people...

  • simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-16 15:14

    The more the police brutalize the people the bigger this problem will become. They are starting to act just like the old SAP, and they still protect the money.

      JManAtheoi - 2013-01-16 15:32

      Police brutalize? As in blocking traffic, burning cars, throwing stones at cops, attacking workers that actually want to work, looting, etc mean like that?

      vaughan.lund - 2013-01-16 15:39

      As opposed to @simphiwe's world where the police let the mob trash and burn the place.

      simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-01-16 16:16

      take a careful look at how the Irish police deal with demonstrations maybe you'll learn something.

  • chris.buchner.12 - 2013-01-16 15:15

    This is so funny AgriSA will do the same thing Anglo plat did they will agree to 150 a day but will fire thousands for the damages they caused and then they will all cry and cusato will act all big but can't do anything about it shame take the 105...

  • Matthew - 2013-01-16 15:17

    This part gets me,maybe someone can clarify this for me,But the articles says "She said workers had agreed to issue letters to the 32 farmers in the area, asking for negotiations around their daily wage demand of R150." So thats saying that theres only 32,farmworkers in the area. And the 800 that were protesting there? they farmworkers from other areas or just mobs for hire???

      ohbizz.chabata - 2013-01-16 15:25

      I gather 32 is the number of farmers / employers while 800 is supposedly the number of collective farmworkers / employees

      Matthew - 2013-01-16 15:31

      Fair enough.thought as much,just wasnt sure if instead it was these cosatu and anc guys that came down in the busses like everyone has been pointing out etc

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2013-01-16 15:17

    I can tell you that these "so called Farmworkers" are intimidating the normal farm workforce. That is a fact. Just spoke to a friend in the Northern Cape and the poor Farm labourers who are locals have had their houses burnt down by the migrants. My friend is doing all she can to assist these people with their belongings. Why is the Government allowing migrant workers to destroy South Africans jobs????? Why are these migrants here in the first place??? We as South Africans want answers and we want them now!

      Matthew - 2013-01-16 15:32

      Here! Here!

  • nico.eksteen.7 - 2013-01-16 15:41

    Cops giving them Robertson's spices

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2013-01-16 15:42

    The article on Fin News says clearly that Afri Forum have been kept deliberately in the dark regarding the extended wage negotiation from R65.00 to R105. So Cosatu ....Tony Ehrenreich just doing his own thing as usual and causing untold hardship for the Farmers and their Farm Workers.

  • grimble.grumble.98 - 2013-01-16 15:42

    If this happened overseas the government would step in and say enough is enough. This is a no win situation in which SA loses

  • junaido.mahlaule - 2013-01-16 15:44

    Don't kill them, like we did in MARICANA.

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2013-01-16 15:52

    Yes Grimble and it should be a treasonable act to destroy a Country's food supply.

  • jacostoneysteenkamp - 2013-01-16 16:01

    Robots , Industrialize the farms via automation , erect 20ft walls and fire them all. Lets see how they feel and what they'll do when there is no money, no food , no nothing . Ungrateful

      John - 2013-01-16 17:16

      They'll steal, murder, loot, rape, burn, stone, toi toi etc

  • boitirelo - 2013-01-16 16:15

    Are we only going to see government intervention after another massacre.

  • marilyn.docherty.9 - 2013-01-16 16:20

    If the strikers weren't so violent and destructive, one would probably be more sympathetic towards their cause. I have no sympathy for these guys what-so-ever!!!

  • franco.e.swanepoel - 2013-01-16 16:42

    No one the station commander is not Captain Marshall Klaasten as they said so the first lie in their story and secondly the "protesters" where people that was dropped off from another town to come cause trouble here no agreed to a piecefull protest! The police is doing the best they can! Never mind rubber bullets give them permission to use live amo!

  • embarrassedtobeblack.margret - 2013-01-16 17:02

    the only time SA will improve is when the workers start thanking the employer for their jobs and stop expecting the employer to thank them for working ....

  • anaska - 2013-01-16 17:02

    This animals should be found and charged with the full force of the law "law in south africa sucks though" plus the minister is sitting on his big black a°ss and doing NOTHING ABOUT THIS SERIOUS MATTER!!!!!

  • lebo.malefane.1 - 2013-01-16 17:05

    ashie miss ma little boy

  • embarrassedtobeblack.margret - 2013-01-16 17:06

    lets get our predictions in on this one, the mines are losing 14000 jobs how many farm workers do we think will lose their jobs ....... WTF don't these guys learn from other ppls mistakes ????

  • pieterjohan.westhuizen - 2013-01-16 17:45

    Advice to farmers & Anglo plat. Take what you can & leave, cause these Cosatu mother F***kers are going to squeeze you dry

  • tiaan.truter - 2013-01-16 18:22

    Lekker skiet die d*ners...hulle kan mos nie soos gewone mense vir goed vra nie.

  • Notrax123 - 2013-01-16 21:59

    News24 reports that the "Farmworkers strike" has been potponed for a week, HOWEVER this was posted on Nosey Pieterse Face Book page about 4 hours ago: Nosey Pieterse 2 hours ago via BlackBerry Smartphones App. had a very good meeting with the police generals today. I should have met with lamoer long ago. we had some good resolutions. we will be marching tomorow through the farms. we hope all areas will march through the farms tomorow. There could well be bloodshed if this happens. News24 should contact Mr Nosey to check the grounds of him posting this.

  • Notrax123 - 2013-01-16 23:19

  • thaluki.malema - 2013-01-22 07:25

    These striking farmworker idiots will go the same route as their idiotic mining brothers. Mechanisation will take over your jobs. They will all strike themselves out of a job.

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