Stone-throwing Ceres protesters hurt cop

2012-11-13 16:51

Johannesburg - A policeman has been injured by a stone thrown by a protesting farm worker in Ceres, Western Cape police said on Tuesday afternoon.

The officer suffered a head injury and was admitted to hospital, said Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut.
He was in a stable condition.

"The Western Cape police are dealing with several unrest situations relating to the wage dispute by farm workers, and currently 14 areas are potentially affected," Traut said in an e-mail.

"The focus is however on De Doorns, Ceres, Robertson, Prince Alfred Hamlet and Somerset West."

High alert

Traut warned the public to exercise caution in rural areas and to avoid areas where there were signs of unrest.

Police would remain in the affected areas and "take the necessary action against any acts of violence or unrest".

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was due to meet farm worker representatives in Worcester at 16:00 on Tuesday and then head to the Stofland informal settlement in De Doorns to address workers.

Workers have been protesting since last week over work conditions and their wages. They are demanding R150 a day.

At least 10 people were arrested in the area on Monday for public violence and intimidation.

The Witzenberg municipality, which Ceres falls under, was preparing a report on incidents in the area.


Employer body Agri Wes-Cape said that intimidation of farm workers and producers should end immediately.

Police earlier denied allegations that they attacked a marching group of people in Nduli and Prince Alfred Hamlet.

The Workers International Vanguard Party alleged that police attacked marchers, who in turn retaliated by burning police vehicles.

Agri Wes-Cape CEO Carl Opperman called on farmers and workers to talk to each other directly about grievances rather than relying on "so-called leaders".

"The tactics of intimidation, violence and fear which women and children are exposed to, is a clear indication of the manner in which union leaders are working."


The Black Association of the Agriculture Sector (Bawsi) said many farmers were guilty of intimidating their employees.

Bawsi president Nosey Pieterse said they had been travelling through De Doorns since early on Tuesday morning "rescuing" workers from farmers.

"We have been marching through the farm roads in De Doorns to pick up those workers who called us, saying they were intimidated by farmers and threatened with evictions," he said in a phone interview.

"We travelled 10km by foot with a Nyala [armoured police van] in front of us, and about 1 000 workers joined us."

He said he had received "frenzied" calls from police in Ceres asking him to intervene in labour matters there. He would be travelling to the area later in the day.

Pieterse said he had received reports of farm worker strikes in Riebeek-Kasteel, Citrusdal, Piketberg, Grabouw and Villiersdorp.

  • CapeIndependence - 2012-11-13 17:14

    This is nothing more than an attempt by the ANC to destabalise the Cape. Yes, wages are low - but do you want to tell me that wages are lower in the WC than any other province? People should hear what the ANC and COSATU leaders are saying at these protests - they are openly calling for war and land reclamation now! The photo above is also misleading.. We know that thousands of FOREIGN African farm workers were bussed in and fed by the ANC-Tripartite alliance into De Doorns and Ceres and that they went on a rampage in coloured communities threatening to burn their homes down if they did not join the strike. THIS is far from a democracy and I urge the people of the Western Cape to see this for what it is: an attempt to bully us into submission, a punishment for voting in the local government that we did & an attempt by the ANC to destabalise our Cape. How are we better off being attached to SA I ask you?

      EricksonTL - 2012-11-13 18:50

      Wow. Sarcasm is a lost art... Fire the lot of them I say. Mechanise, or hire people who are desperate for jobs.

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-13 17:21

    Violence once again. I trust that the person qho threw the stone was arrested and charged with attempted murder. Criminals hide behind every industrial action. Fight back and dismiss any person who partakes in violent action. I agree with the employers in Ceres. Don't talk to the so called leaders - they are agents of COSATU and can in no way be objective. Any person who would stick his neck out for criminals has an agenda. Dismiss these criminals and report them to so we can stabilise the workplace.

      CapeIndependence - 2012-11-13 17:35

      I propose that farmers start a process of firing foreign labour immediately as these riots are only going to get worse.. These protests are done under the guise of "wage disputes," so if they are no longer employed then they cannot vandalize as "workers.." It will also remove any possible "legality" of their strikes. Lay off a dozen every month until the process is complete instead of doing it all at once. Thoughts?

  • danie.smit.587 - 2012-11-13 17:30

    They , using Zimbabweans, Basutu Nigerians , as the Xhosas in the WC left the ANC after Rasool their previous premiar's scam to win his Xhosa compeditor

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-11-13 17:31

    Here we go again! This is the only language these people know-when you want something destroy property that doesnt belong to you! I wouldnt give one of these stone throwing marchers a cent. They should be fired. I dont want people who have no respect for others property working for me!If they have a legitimate problem,then address it like a civilised human being!

  • bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-11-13 17:47

    tme out....there is something very wrong here.....African people never used to work for anybody...we would work the land and rear livestock in our vast open land.....EVERY ONE OF US...that's how we used to we have to eke out a living labouring for survival at these so called pains is something that needs to be fixed one way or the other...

      phae.rayden - 2012-11-13 18:12

      Wake up Bongani this is the 21st century, no-one can do that anymore anywhere on the planet, why? because there are too many people everywhere, and we all have to adapt to a 'trapped' existence because of it. I think it stinks that people are paid such a disgustingly small amount of money, but these guys need to behave as well. As for you Kosie Nel, stop with your dumb racist cr@p, its because of people like you this is happening.

      tersia.c.duplessis - 2012-11-13 18:13

      How do you propose we fix it Bongani? We can't go back to 1870's when diamonds were discovered. How keen are the "African people" you refer to who live in SOWETO to "work the land and rear livestock" in the "vast open land"? I would sincerely love to hear your solution.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 18:53

      Well the people that ended up in Southern Africa were already here because they'd been pushed South due to wars, hostile terrain and over-grazing. Plus there were far fewer people. So whilst you dream of vast expanses where animals roamed, others came in and turned comparatively small areas into viable and sustainable sources of food and export revenue. Many of us would like to 'call back the past' but we have to be realistic. We are here, hurtling into 2013 and beyond, no longer able to feed, water, house, clothe or educate the nation. Every decision made has long-term consequences for us all.

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-11-13 21:20

      Go back to the EC and demand your land from the Chiefs, they are being paid by government. Farm if you want to farm why work for a farmer and blame him for your bad luck. You can always buy your own farm.

  • phae.rayden - 2012-11-13 17:52

    To Tina Joemat-Pettersson, do the job you are paid to do, yet another obvious attempt by you and your ANC to destabilize the WP by dragging your feet to assist. To all farmers in SA, pay your employees properly, R69 a day is outrageous, minimum wage or not. And to Nosey from Bawsi, how do we believe you? What happened to the 1000 you saved after they called for help (?) by picking them up on your walk behind an Nyala? Are they safe, where are they now? Surely you didn't just let them go back to their farms?

  • charles.john.3551 - 2012-11-13 18:18

    This such a sad situation. The Government set the minimum wage levels and now the run around trying to get all to talk to each other. Agree - people need to earn a decent living, but within this wage situation have all the free houses, free schools on farms etc been taken into account as well as all the other benefits which agrculture in the Western Cape provides! Doubt that! Its also not just about wages, but also long term affordibilty and sustainability of agriculture. Soon there will be more unemployment! Its time the Minister of Agric got the Deptarments act together and produce proper results not just political retoric!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 18:58

      One has to wonder "why now"? This bad pay situation is not new and there are so many laws, processes and procedures in the system. I am completely baffled as to why matters must always have to end up in violence and destruction. Have negotiations been going on for a long time? Where have DoL, the Unions et al been for all these years that we constantly end up in the same place?

  • takalikho - 2012-11-13 18:25

    I was born in Ceres and I'm an active member of the trade union. The vandalism that is happening in the township is not ayoba, we don't have the famers or farms in Nduli. As much as I support the call for wage for the farm workers and burn of Labour brokers. But vandalising the infrastructures won't solve the problem. I also think criminal elememts are behind or have hijack the strike. I'm worried about my mom and kids that need to travel from work and school, I hear the entrance to the township is closed and people are trowing stones....

      phae.rayden - 2012-11-13 18:50

      Hope your family stays safe, what a horrid position for you to be in. If its criminals why don't the people unite and expose them so the wage issue can be dealt with seriously, or are they too afraid? Still, it always requires brave people to change a bad system. Hope this settles quickly.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 19:08

      Oh here we go again with the 'rogue elements' speech from the Unions. Of course it is never your members that misbehave and of course you all condemn it. Yet protest after protest violence, destruction is the only modus operandi you seem to have. Without any recompense to those whose businesses are destroyed in the process. As an active member of the Union you should be worried about your failure to do a single thing to prevent matters from reaching this point and understand that this barbaric, demented behaviour is your fault. You have every law in the country behind you. What have you been doing for all these years?

      takalikho - 2012-11-13 19:46

      @ Lacrimoself: My introduction and socialy responsiblity have nothing to do with what is happening in farms industry. I was just concerned and pissed off about waht is happening in my home town, I'm part of the people who have fought for some of the roads that are being vandalised in that erea. For the records Im currently staying and working in Somerset hospital in Cape town and I am the leader of labour caucus in that erea. If you hear that protesters when they talk starting from mining industry they all have nominated their own leaders outside the bairgaining forum,in de doorns the initial crowd that gathered seemed leaderless and no-one took ownership of the chaos that erupted or the list of grievances that the workers apparently were protesting about. The only thing that COSATU PS said was a call for second steike in solidarity. He have condenm the violance, I have received a call now my mom have to leave the car at work she have walk from work to home. How am i suppose to feel about that? The attitude you have against trade unions must change if you are missed informed about our role and rensposibility. Crime is crime Shops and businesses were looted and damaged - the very same that provided extra work and services to the community,It is strange that workers are demanding better housing when they burn farm worker houses if this is not crime you should give me your definition of crime. I rest my case (concern member of Nduli).

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-13 20:05

      Well if people are choosing leaders outside of the bargaining forum, it means they failed. We're all p'd off and all worried about the lives endangered, the businesses ruined. Unions are supposed to be there to prevent these things from happening. Every union-represented industry lately seems to turn into a stone-throwing, fire-starting, vandalising - and eventually murdering - mob. So again, I ask what have the Unions been doing - or not doing - that it always starts this way? Or is there just a gargantuan problem with an ability to reason and exercise impulse control?

  • Erna - 2012-11-13 20:14

    And yet no-one was arrested for throwing a stone at the cop.

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-13 20:54

    This is what is not needed, when community hurts,injure or take the life of a police officer we close our mouth and not say any thing to call those who attack police to order, but if they then act to protect themselves against such actions then we start to make noise saying police are brutal, no ways police are also citizens of this country and had families and relatives that loves them too, so let us speak to our fellow South Africans not to attack police when they are in marches or riots because they can not sit back and watch people coming to them to hurt them or injure them.

  • jason.higgins.5076 - 2012-11-14 13:20

    the number 1 cause of death is money.

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