De Doorns 'tense' after violence, arrests

2012-11-12 10:16

Cape Town - Eleven people were arrested after police "took action" against protesting farmworkers in De Doorns on Monday, Western Cape police said.

"The situation at De Doorns is still tense," spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said.

He said violence broke out in the area when a group of around 80 people carrying sticks and pangas intimidated farmworkers and prevented them from going to work.

"We took action," said Traut.

Rubber bullets

He wouldn't say what measures were used, but SABC radio news reported rubber bullets were fired. Ten people were arrested for public violence, and another one for intimidation.

ANC Western Cape legislature spokesperson Koos Grobler said he had been told by an ANC councillor in the area that police were breaking up groups of five people walking together and that there were police helicopters, and privately hired helicopters, in the air.

Last week protesters in De Doorns blocked the N1 highway in the area and set vineyards alight. They wanted their salaries increased to R150 a day. The current minimum wage for their type of work is R69.99 a day.

Earlier, The Star reported that Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was expected to hold an urgent meeting in Pretoria to discuss their strike.

Agri Wes-Cape has called on farmworkers to return to work as the table grape season was in full swing. Talks between the minister, the Congress of SA Trade Unions and farmer representatives took place over the weekend.

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said workers rejected an offer of R80 a day, and called on them to stay away from work on Monday. He said farmworkers in Mpumalanga had started striking. Workers said they had heard Cosatu was representing them, but most were unrepresented.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant is attending a conference abroad.

  • george.pistorius - 2012-11-12 10:20

    Fire Them they don't want to work!!!

      lownabester - 2012-11-12 10:35

      Biggest problem there............Tony, Fransman and Tina. Get out we dont need you.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-12 10:47

      @Busi - away with racist trolls! I see you only have black friends on your Facebook profile. Careful next time you wag your finger about racism..

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-11-12 11:03

      Are you going to go to work in field for R69.99 a day Geroge? I don't think so... They deserve to be paid R150 / day... I hope they get it

      claude.l.marais - 2012-11-12 11:14

      To Clarence.alexander.509. You do not buy the items daily. If you do, then it would be 30kg of maize meal,30 loafs of bread,30 tins of jam,30 tubs of margarine and 30 bars of soap. You cearly thinks like our current government.

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-11-12 11:24

      @claude - You are an idiot, I believe clarence has got more important things to do then type out a full months budget so you can understand it better. What he was trying to say is that NOBODY can have a decent life while earning a daily wage of R69.99. How do you buy clothes, school fess, transprt, medical (Even plasters and detol cost money), entertainment, food, gifts for a loved one... And God help them if they have a child to support or maybe a family member who can't help themselves. Come down off your little rose coloured cloud and wake up. You are the problem pal, YOU!

      Desilusionada - 2012-11-12 11:26

      @clarence.alexander.509 - Your comments would have more if they were realistic. After eating: One loaf of bread One tin of jam -Small tub of margarine -1kg maize meal and then washing with -1 bar of soap Every Day, would leave a worker, his wife and 2 children to tired and fat to work. Never mind being able to afford the occasional papsak or 2. Was it the farmers, the government or the unions who decided R70/day in the first place? Which of those "farm workers" get social grants? What laws are impacting on farmers so that they take seasonal workers on? The problem is much more complex than made out. And blaming the farmer is a short cut to resolving it.......

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-11-12 11:33

      @Desilusionada - You say afamily of 4 will get fat on the food they eat worth R70.00 per day. Do you really think a person that lives on 1/4 loaf of bread with jam and margarine and 250g of maize is going to get fat? That is less than most people eat for breakfast , never mind lunch and dinner. You think that R200 / month in grants is going to make a person radically rich? You are also the problem. Gop feed, clothe and keep uyour family happy on R1200.00. You disgust me on a Monday!

      zambezi.river - 2012-11-12 11:37

      @prickClaude..................u mate shud try surviving on R70 a day

      zambezi.river - 2012-11-12 12:16

      Cut out all the middlemen,let all farmers deal directly with supermarkets etc,etc,etc and they would afford to pay their workers more.At the moment there is to much red tape to supply directly to supermarkets OR All supermarkets should be made only to purchase their produce at the fresh produce markets......THIS WOULD EARN FARMERS BETTER PRICES.

      Desilusionada - 2012-11-12 14:36

      @rob This diet that was proposed contains nearly 4000 Calories. A 35 year old moderately active person needs about 2800 Calories per day to maintain weight. The point I was making is that an emotional rant about what can be bought with R70/day or the R250 monthly social grant (which can be increased, provided that the mother drinks enough to have her child born with FAS), will not solve the issue. A rant about school fees that these people do not have to pay? Paying those people R300/day, will not solve the matter. Rather look at the moral and social fabric of the poor. The devaluation of human life. The unrealistic expectation created by R250 000 Breitling watches. The poor standards of schooling. The willingness to burn the very same assets that create their jobs. First determine what control these people have over their lives and how much responsibility they want to shoulder. The ability and want to share the responsibility of running the farm as a profitable enterprise. Do the Ehrenreichs and Fransmans contribute or are they just fostering their own agendas? What is done to sort out the leaky borders, that result in xenophobia? Are you now wanting higher salaries in a oversupplied labour market? Can farmers afford to pay more? A pay rise of R10/day equates to R220/month, R22 000 for every 100 workers pay rise. Perhaps they can, who knows? Maybe a framer must answer that. Look at the wider picture, then prescribe what they should buy/eat per day.....

      gianni.blayse - 2012-11-12 14:42

      thank you rob and clarence for having half a brain...all you idiots like george that comment that they should be fired should try living on 70 rand a day. its very easy to open your mouth when you are privileged and your selfish little mind has never even considered what it is like to come from a life like that, where the most you can ever hope to succeed is to earn R150 a day. I love how people who have no concept of things are always the first to open their ignorant beks and say somehting domb

      hendrik.verwoerd.94 - 2012-11-12 14:47

      Shows what the DA will do when they are in power. Wonder when 'Coloureds" in Strand (Morkel Cottage) will start to strike because the DA refuses to build them houses despite receiving the money from the Government. DA did not spend their budgets in many towns as they refuse to build houses for blacks (inclusive of "coloureds") Truth will come out.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-12 10:26

    The entire ANC is treasonous in this continuing drive to destabilize the western cape! Tony Ehrenreich should be incarcerated as well.

  • Suzanne Viljoen - 2012-11-12 10:26

    NO don't Fire them. Most of them want to work but they are being intimidated! get rid of those branding pangas and sticks!

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-12 10:36

    Cosatu, Ehrenreich and Fransman are doing a great job in the Cape. Strange how they kept quiet during the Limpopo school book saga and have you heard them say anything against Zuma's kraal?. Hypocrites, especially political hypocrites, disgust me.

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2012-11-12 10:43

    Copy cat striking ala Marikana has set a new tone in S.A. and is sweeping the Country. A pandemic of burning, murdering, intimidating is now the order of the day. A state of Emergency should have called long ago but with Mangaung around the corner it is obviously not high on the priorities list.

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-12 10:51

    This is a situation that need to be sorted out as early as possible to avoid Marikana situation to happen again, our leaders should not hesitate to address issue and after bad actions or incidents then start to run around trying to solve things they would have solve while was early, so they must not wait for bins to spill before addressing peoples problems. Minister must as quickly as possible appoint people to go and sort out the problems farm workers are facing if she can not go there by herself.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-11-12 10:53

    Oh the ignorance. Do they honestly believe that this is going to make people vote for the ANC en-masse? Quite the reverse. All the more reason NOT to vote for them. They forget that Western Cape voters have already seen through their bull once. We'll continue doing so.

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-11-12 10:56

    1 in 8 illegal protestors arrested, better than some other areas. You break the law, you should feel the pinch of justice.

  • Neil Alberts - 2012-11-12 10:56

    fire the bloody lot man!

  • susan.pretorius.31 - 2012-11-12 10:58

    If you are not satisfied with the salary for a certain job, why do you aply for it? Nobody force you to work for it, why not resighn and look for another job that suits your needs?

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-11-12 12:18

      Come on Susan. Noo work in the area. One will jump just to afford something, but that does not mean that it is the correct pay. I worked before for a company, not being paid what the normal rate was, from 6am until 10pm, sometimes. Without overtime and when moaning we were told that if you do not want to do it we can employ black people with the blessing of gov. I had no choice because I needed money, even if too little. Does it sounds right to you? (it was our fellow Afrikaner bosses who did that) The fact remains that it is seasonal work and maybe one of their main incomes in a year. Yes, we know farming cant pay the highes amounts, bur ridicules low one's is also nor fair. The main problem is that Labor department, unions and farmers agreed on something, that was too low from the begin and further more slept on following it up and adjust the rate. This lack of action, from those three, open an opportunity for political parties to "play". Point stands. If it is toooooo little!!!!!!

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-11-12 12:32

      Supposed to be "IT IS TO LITTLE!!!!"

  • john.p.steyn - 2012-11-12 10:59

    Black people who own businesses are the same as white people who own businesses. They want to maximize profit, they don't care about the workers. Look at Cyril Ramaphosa and Kulubhuse Zuma. It's not only whites that exploit labour, most blacks do the same. Is it better to be exploited by your own race? Would that make you feel better? Personally it makes no difference to me. But maybe for you

      vambozha.mutemi.9 - 2012-11-12 11:49

      @John..u are absolutely right mate, actually black employers are the worst when it comes to wages and salaries, and they dont follow labour laws!

  • Witchbladesa - 2012-11-12 11:02

    I don't think they realise that if they carry on burning down the vineyards they won't have a farm to run but dead ground. I also believe this is purely political and not wage related as I have a farm and my workers are paid above minimal wages but are also dissatisfied as they have been told to be disgruntled or else

      tony.angel.3975 - 2012-11-12 12:07

      I also thought there were another"party" involved!

  • phillip.mtshweni.39 - 2012-11-12 11:16

    Though I don't support the acts of demolition out there but I believe farm workers deserve to be paid better, I was born and grew up on he farm environment and I really saw how my father tried so hard to make ends meet for us with little money he earned. so those who live in glass houses should not be stoned I have experience of this

  • valleier.courant - 2012-11-12 11:17

    The minimum wage for all farm workers are determined by the Department of Labor. Most farmers follow these guidelines. If workers want more money they must protest at mr. Oliphants door.

      tony.angel.3975 - 2012-11-12 12:08

      Well said!

  • zambezi.river - 2012-11-12 11:39


      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-12 11:46

      Funny you say that, in the WC that is exactly what they doing. The WC also has the most successful land redistribution projects in South Africa.. You know, those horrible racist DA actually giving back more then the holier than thou ANC..

      richard.hipkin - 2012-11-12 11:51

      I must also add that MANY commercial farmers are very willing to empower their workers but guess who's the stumbling block? Government and unions... yep, the very people who jump the highest and shout the loudest.. One day, hopefully, you will wake up and see just how the ANC and the unions have exploited YOU for THEIR gain.. Google land reform success in WC and learn the truth...

      tony.angel.3975 - 2012-11-12 12:34

      Go drown yourself in that same river!

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-11-12 11:53

    "Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant is attending a conference abroad." Oh, is that the new term for shopping :)

  • zzang.baba.7 - 2012-11-12 11:54

    R70 a day is disgusting! Even at R150 a day, those workers are earning around R3000 a month, for hard physical labour. I doubt there are many of us who would do a hard day's work for that kind of money. The farmers need to look at their business models if paying their workers R3000 a month will kill their viability. So, on that issue, I support the workers 100%. HOWEVER, I don't agree with their actions. Unfortunately, in this new South Africa, violence, destruction to property and intimidation seems to be the only way to be heard. The fact that there are almost certainly people behind the scenes, stoking the fires in order to build some political capital, doesn't help the workers, nor the farmers, nor SA as a whole. Truly sad times we live in.

      Tim Elliott - 2012-11-12 13:24

      Wake up!!If that is what an industry can affrod then that is the 'model'.The other 'model' is mechanisation which means fewer jobs.THINK for s...t's sake!

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-12 12:12

    R150 a day for an unskilled worker will put the whole industry out of business and then no work for no one. Know the economics before you make dangerous suggestions. R80 is enough for the work they do. At least they have work to buy food. Something is beter than nothing!

  • TawwaTienie - 2012-11-12 12:40

    Political fights. Why is Minister Fransman with Foreigners? Compare apples with apples. 95% of protestors are from Lesotho or Zimbabwe and not living in this area. Amounts of farmworkers are also different from daily workers. They are working for one day and stay away for 4/5 days. Seasonal workers. They victimize farmers and workers. Trouble makers.

  • francois.dutoit.167 - 2012-11-12 13:42

    The question is not whether R80 or R100 or R150 is is whether it is affordable. Get rid of the emotion, and let the numbers speak. Empower yourself with the facts before wasting your time commenting. There is hardly any fat left in any industry. The minimun wage was set out by the government and industry. It is not a thumb-suck. Increasing a wage/salary by 110% is not sustainable in any industry. A grape farm already spends anything between 30% and 40% of its turnover on wages. You lift this by 110% it will equate to about 73% of turnover. The only way to counter this is to raise food prices by 110%. And then more than just farming is going to collapse!

      antonio.soares.9081323 - 2012-11-13 18:27

      You are a scholar, gentleman and lover of fine dining my good friend! :-) xxx

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-12 13:56

    DuToit, you have no idea what you are talking about. Do you farm in De Doorns or at all. If not, then consider getting to the economic facts first, before you call farmers greedy. The profit margins are so low or negative. Farmers are holding on for dear life. Increasing the wages to above R80 will push the industry into a dire situation.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-11-12 14:40

      I am not sure who you refer to(DuToit)? If it was on a previous comment of mine I suggest you read it again. Nowhere did I said the farmer are greedy. Yes, I do have a good understanding on the industry and do believe that the rates these workers want cant be sustainable, but R 70 neither for seasonal workers. The fact that you already mentioned R 80 just shows the problem. Let them starve while knowing we could have paid R10 more. Dear life? lol. Do you know the neighbors?

      gianni.blayse - 2012-11-12 15:03

      farmers are holding on for dear life? do you know that most wine farm owners compose the richest people in this country

      francois.dutoit.167 - 2012-11-12 16:58

      Altus. Read my comment without the that emotion, and you will see that I said exactly what you say. Yes, I know what I am talking about. Yes, I farm TG producer in the Hex. No, I never even implied that WE are greedy. That we are hanging on for dear life?...most definitely.

  • mike.clery - 2012-11-12 14:00

    Ehrenreich adds nothing but destruction and bitterness to any situation.

  • AceOfSpades - 2012-11-12 14:16

    "Agri Wes-Cape has called on farmworkers to return to work as the table grape season was in full swing." Guess grapes are more important than the staff. WOW

      mike.clery - 2012-11-12 14:21

      Without the grapes, there's no income. No income, no money to pay workers.

      gianni.blayse - 2012-11-12 14:50

      maybe wine farm owners shouldnt be such greedy rich elites and pay their workers a bit more fairly

  • Kevin Hall - 2012-11-12 14:17

    why the hell should they be paid more ,when they torch vineyards and throw stones! how many jobs are they costing themselves!?!?

  • Kevin Hall - 2012-11-12 14:22

    Why the bloody hell should they get more when they torch vineyards(their livelyhood) ,throw stones and intimidate decent workers.!!???

  • margaret.brand.12 - 2012-11-12 14:47

    The poor pensioners have to survive on less, nobody seems to have a voice for them

      piet.snot.77964 - 2012-11-12 16:54

      Yes Margaret - tell them ! I hope that interest rates are as low for them when they retire!

  • flower.fourie - 2012-11-12 14:56

    I can't wait till all those saying the strike action is good, have to pay more for their grapes.

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-12 16:04

    People who partake in violent strike action deserves to be dismissed. Stop talking about the merits. If i don't like adhering to road speeds and rules governing road usage, do I now earn the right to kill myself a traffic official. Also if the larger part of a crowd has been intimmidated to strike, why can they not intimidate the minority and go to work. Issues have to be adressed through negotiations and not violence. If someone is being naughty. He must be punished. www.strikeback.

  • piet.snot.77964 - 2012-11-12 16:48

    Col Traut - is is about time the police took action on the closing of a national road - I can assure that if a few protestors closed a main road or highway into Cape Town the police would act but there are double standards at play me thinks

  • andrew.gordon.505523 - 2012-11-13 14:21

    Ironically half the people striking are not south africans, but from places like Uganda, Malawi, zimbabwe etc. They were working at the farms, but with no work visa's. Then police cracked down on farmers using these 'illegal workers' and fined the farmers R3000+- for each worker. Now they won't employ them or they will be fined again. And who put on the pressure to crack down on these 'illegal workers'? Cosatu....Now they're striking along with the actually South African's. Farmers will just automise their farms

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