One dead, two injured as hundreds of farmworkers protest for better wages in Eastern Cape

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Farmworkers are protesting in a part of the Eastern Cape.
Farmworkers are protesting in a part of the Eastern Cape.
Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais
  • Hundreds of disgruntled farmworkers are protesting in Kirkwood.
  • The protests, which started last week, are said to be about wage increases.
  • One person died in hospital and two others were injured.

Hundreds of disgruntled farmworkers are protesting in Kirkwood in the Eastern Cape.

The protests started last week and are believed to be about wage increases.

On Monday, three people were injured, including a police officer.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed that three people were injured during the protest.

"One of the injured is a police officer, while the other is a member of the public who was reportedly injured and later died in hospital. The third one is reported to be a security guard, who was assaulted, and two cars belonging to a private security company were set alight," he said.  

Kinana said a truck in Addo and a car in the local township were also set alight during the protest.

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"Cases of malicious damage to property, assault, public violence and murder are under investigation. The circumstances surrounding the incidents are under investigation," he said. 

No arrests have been made at this stage.  

Daily Maverick reported that farm owners in the Sundays River Valley municipality were granted an interim interdict on Monday to stop protesting workers and supporters from coming within 500m of farms.

Farmworkers have been protesting in demand of wage increases.

The workers are demanding an hourly wage increase of R6.81 and a 30% cap on the hiring of foreign nationals. 

The mayor of the municipality, Simphiwe Rune, invited all involved to find some common ground to ensure that lives, jobs and infrastructure were protected.

A concerned Kouga resident, David Phelan, said: "The time to be throwing stones at each other is over. We need to move on."

Phelan said things were calm on Tuesday morning as the workers were expected to have a meeting. 

He said: "I don't work for the farms; I am just a concerned citizen. If I am unhappy with my job, I will speak to my employer and if we cannot come to a suitable arrangement, I will resign. I will not go and cause damage to property or attack people. There should not be this violence and loss of life." 

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