Zille's De Doorns visit disrupted

2012-11-08 15:58

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.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-08 16:10

    Well done Helen!!! I have yet to see the anc leader attend one protest march and interact with those on the ground. More prrof of how the ancyl are intent on making the Western Cape ungovernable.

      zwe.ndlovu.7 - 2012-11-08 17:08

      Tony was there yesterday.

      jonivdw - 2012-11-08 18:59

      Tony is a Unionist from COSATU and a big useless trouble maker, he was not there for the sake of the workers nor did he do a walkabout.... He went to stir trouble.

  • Erna - 2012-11-08 16:12

    And the anc calls SA a democracy.

      typersa.baddy - 2012-11-08 16:43

      @thato.seloane - "This growing group then started intimidating the others by dragging them away." This is not democracy, dragging people away that wanted to raise their oppinion. Grow a brain you knob!!

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-11-08 16:48

      Thato, if you have a grievance, you ARRANGE A MEETING with your MANAGEMENT and you go talk, and talk, and talk. But not only do you talk, you listen, and listen, and listen. At no stage do you take to the streets DESTROYING property, picketing like horny devils, threatening the lives of people, or infringe on the rights of OTHERS who, for example, have a right to use the N1, have a right to a safe environment, have a right to work, et al.

      Bobbycat - 2012-11-08 17:10

      @thato So Helen should have excercised her democratic right to drag the people back, 'tug-of-war' style? I don't see how you can defend these actions.

      grant.hide - 2012-11-08 18:34

      @ thato, Democracy is when the 4 year term comes to an end, and the party u chose is not delivering to your people. Not millions but billions of rands is not being used to uplift your people who put that party there. This democracy currently has the leaders spending it on personal assets, 1 traditional bunker for 250 million rand instead of your houses. The next president wont be getting this presidents 250 million traditional bunker because it is being built on his private property. The white house isn't rebuilt but used by the next president in the USA. Please open your eyes.

      craig.bennetts.9 - 2012-11-08 19:26

      What a joke!

  • willem.dehaan.94 - 2012-11-08 16:12

    The police have a duty to keep the N1 open to all traffic. How they do it is their business, As far as I am concerned, they fail in their duty to the general law abiding public if they allow the strikers (violent, which means unlawful) to block that road or to endanger in any way the free flow of traffic. I am not impressed by Traut's statement.

  • michael.horton.566790 - 2012-11-08 16:12

    These hooligans are just a bunch of animals... If you are unhappy, go and find some other place to work. Don't disrupt the ones that want to sort the problem out and get back to work you MFerks!!!!

      grant.hide - 2012-11-08 18:38

      @ Zwe, We pay billions in taxes towards our our past greedy ancestors. If that billions does not get to you I'm sorry. But we have paid and the money now lies with those you have empowered with your vote. Vote to uplift your people! Not your ego.

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 19:45

      Wow animals!?? And you stil feel you should hang around here!!?? Animals!! Then you blame Julius for his remarks!! Dude don't be stupid man!! Say hi to your queen on your way out! Cos pple who call other people animals have no place in SA! Go bokkie go!!

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-11-08 20:05

      simphiwe.b.erasmus?2 you are spot on my brother. They cannot be called animals, because animals don't behave like them. They are worse than animals. These so-called \humans\ are brainless, my dog is and think smarter than them. Now please tell us what you call them? Because as a human I don't behave like that, I negotiate with my employer.

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 21:44

      Your statement sadens me William! I live with these people! I see their harsh realities everyday! I'm not condoning the burning of vineyards at all!! I myself am tired of the violence! Infact one of the farmers vinyards that was burned is one of the better farmers in whose house I almost grew up in! He use to pay his worker far more than what other farmers paid and they hated him for doing that but his workers are loyal to him they give their all for him! Good people and this whole fiasco sadens me! But its a fact that people are exploited! Some farmers abuse their vulnerbility! Fortunate are you to have a boss with whom you can negotiate maybe you have some leverage! Some don't!! They are angry and frustrated and in your eyes it may be wrong! I don't know you I don't know your upbringing to feel it justified to call any human an animal!! You be the better person!! Not even Helen Zille will agree with you!! These \animals\ William, could have been you!!

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-11-11 10:30

      They were probably bused in to stir up trouble - that is a typical ANC trick - hired thugs to stop peaceful dialogue. Yhe police should cordon off the area where the meeting is being held and stop the trouble-causers from coming in

  • Bobbycat - 2012-11-08 16:15

    Is there any respect for constitutional rights? South Africa has been hit by a wave of liberation politics courtesy of Julius Malema and this new struggle for "economic freedom".

  • chris.maakal - 2012-11-08 16:35

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-11-08 16:51

      A sad day that even AZAPO agrees with the DA. But the ANC will simply tell them to fakhov because 'they are the ruling party'. That's the problem with 'ruling parties'. They want to rule. They don't want to GOVERN.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-11-08 16:38

    The original owners of the land are still slaves to their colonial masters, nothing has changed, R60/70 per day is an insult.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-08 16:53

      Don't show your stupidity. The 'masters' arrived with nothing. The 'slaves' could have built their farming empire long before the 'masters' arrived, and they could then have employed the 'Masters' who would now be the 'slaves'. Why didn't they? You can't now, hundreds of years later turn around and blame one nation because they had advanced whilst the other hadn't, and then proceeded to build a country.

      rontheogre - 2012-11-08 16:58

      I would not talk so loud while working for a petroleum company.

      marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-08 16:58

      Derek, lets imagine you were from Lisikisiki in Transkei. You were born there, saved some money and want to build a house. Do you think you can go to an estate agent and buy your neighbours house on the open market. NO because he doesn't own his own house. The CHIEF does. ALL of it.Want to plant maize, only if big chief says yes. 19 000 000 people live on TRIBALLY OWNED land. One big chief and F*&k the rest. WE Want Land. Go ask the fat F87K in leopard skins.

      Bobbycat - 2012-11-08 17:16

      Everything has changed. I'm assuming you say "original owners" because they were born on the land? Well today that applies to the vast majority of South Africans.

      Irene Kambouris - 2012-11-08 18:39

      yes Derek . Free housing, daily rations, etc are never mentioned, are they?

  • kEnt256 - 2012-11-08 16:41

    Please take note SA. The only disruption here was caused by supporters of the ANC, and by extension, the ANC themselves. Its time for change

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 18:59

      Hey stop deceiving SA what's wrong with you!! this disruption was caused by exploitation!!

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-11-08 20:16

      Now I really agree with you simphiwe.b.erasmus?2, however that doesn't give them the right to block a major highway, to burn farms, looting and to protest violently. We don't have mines here like at Marikane, so let us burn the farms. Most of them came here from a corupt province and the call for the ANC to adress them. The same ANC and Cosatu that allowed these farmers to exploit them with their minimum wage agreement. Now isnt that barbaric and moronic? To talk about pure stupidity.

  • gxarha.vambane.3 - 2012-11-08 16:45

    leave other political parties at peace and let Helen deal with people of WC this could happen anywhere in the country and people wont be so defensive ....oh forgot WC people cannot go on strike because they get everything they want ryt...

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-11-08 20:21

      Yeah you are right, pitty these morons from other corrupt and bankrupt provinces are causeing trouble here. Keep on voting ANC you fool.

  • daniel.rossouw1 - 2012-11-08 17:18

    More money means larger expense to harvest which means less people will be employed next season. Don't they get that?

      ronald.stilianou - 2012-11-08 18:48

      Even so simple simphiwe.. The master is still going on his golf holiday with his new 4x4, what changes is less people will work for him next season and the price for the product will increase ( locally and internationally ), he might even fire his boytjie and get his son to run the farm in his absence. At the end of the day will it be the striking idiots (and the hardworking innocents ) that will suffer the most.

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 20:15

      This capitalist mentality that fuels Malema's agenda which is \ let him go to his stupid golf holiday with his son! We will take ova the farm!\ Then the capitalist farmer will cry and cry and cry... \My farm!!!\ Why don't you get it!!?? There farmers who make millions but they are mentoring/teaching other emerging black farmers to do the same!! That is what we want!!

  • altus.kirsten - 2012-11-08 18:31

    Minimum wage is R69.39 per day. The farmers pay a basic wage of R78 per day for unskilled workers, which is much higher than the minimum wage. Cost to company it works out at R96 per day or R2,078 per month. Table grapes employ 3-4 people per hectare. Wages is 60% of production cost. Return on Investment currently is at 3-4%, which is marginal. If the basic wage doubles, all farms will close and will resort to non-labour products like sheep, cattle or poultry. At least these animals does not strike. Get the economics right Cosatu and stop feeding uneducated people lies to make membership fees out of them! Cosatu is destroying jobs in SA!

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-11-08 19:07

    8000 workers want an extra 75 per day( double). Works out to extra R600000 per day extra. Now if they work twice as hard and take half the time to harvest, then maybe.

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 19:58

      Mandy you don't know what you r talking about ne! Most of them start working from 5am till 10/11pm!! If they fall ill they can't go to the doctor or visit the clinic! If they do the GP refuses or is ordered by the farmer not to book them off sick!! Go to De Doorns when this is ova and talk to the people there!!

  • Yandisa Rwaai - 2012-11-08 19:35

    Mandy dont talk sha#t have you ever worked in a farm ...dont talk bs!!

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 20:00

      Its called ignorance Yandisa!!

  • robert.shelembe - 2012-11-08 19:42

    Funny I thought western cape was there best run place on earth where everyone was happy and well paid. South Africans wake they want us to go back to apartheid era first it open toilets, people being called refugees in their own country, and now slave labour, what next?

      simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 19:52

      Take a closer look next time! In our banks and hospitals whites are stil helped first or they can skip the long q's! In the bakkies dogs sit infront while the mother with a baby sits at the back!!! One bank refered the coloured clients to another bank whenever they came to apply for loans!!!! That the WC in the small towns!! Obviously not all whites are a guilty!! There are great white peeps out there!!

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-11-08 20:50

      Funny how morons from other corupt provinces under ANC rule comes here and causes trouble. Why did they come here? Because it is the best run province unlike the ones they come from where they vote the same corupt government in power. You guys make all black people look stupid and moronic like you are. Now go piss on yourselfs.

  • superfastglue.stickittodaman - 2012-11-08 20:42

    You can sit at the back of a double cab , I've never liked the cape much , very snobby but stuff seams to work better there with everyone working together . Farming is a lot more complicated than everybody thinks it is , the farmers could mechanize but choose not too ,but I agree that even 100 rand a day is little for the hard graft they do , skilled or unskilled

  • izan.botes.7 - 2012-11-08 20:47

    more animal behavior.

  • lesia.mohale - 2012-11-08 21:46

    If Madam Zille could first call the farmers to order. What is R70 per day? How much does production bring to the pockets of farmers?. Farm workers are still slaves in this country. Democracy brought no change to farm workers. Politicians are aware but care less because poor workers have no voices. But there is end to everything. Time shall come and farm workers shall shout.

  • melissa.m.robberts - 2012-11-08 21:46

    I would like to know how can the so called government just stand by and do nothing.The police are suppose to protect us,but are'nt allowed.When the farmers try to protect their families they get arrested.Most of the strikers are not even from this region.What has become of this land.Tipical!!!

  • simphiwe.b.erasmus - 2012-11-08 22:15

    In De Doorns I've seen and experienced the devastating effects of capitalism and socialism!! I have seen and experienced racism and marginilastion! I hve seen honest hardworking people and downright lazy people getting somewhere! I have seen honest hardworking people and downright lazy people getting nowhere! And these riots are the fruit of it all!!

      Heibrin - 2012-11-09 01:01

      No, the riots are the ANCYL and COSATU stirring up the people. If you remove all the bussed in 'workers' how many would be left, and would they still strike, or return to work?? You are quick to demand the right to strike, however you don't respect other people's right to work??

  • andre.dekock.71 - 2012-11-09 13:21

    Nationalise the farms. Then drink all the profit yourselves.

      themba.nsele.71 - 2012-11-09 14:56

      since when has she shown interest in the farm workers, peple are fed up, and do not want any crap promises but to do things in their way,,

  • nancygrace.harris - 2012-11-13 19:11

    Well done Helen Zille! Great to know that she gets stuck in where she's needed. For more commentary on the De Doorens unrest have a look at The Horse's Mouth blog

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