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Zille certain De Doorns unrest is politicised

WC premier says the ANC is politicising farm worker protests in De Doorns.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille and provincial agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg (R) visit disgruntled workers in an informal settlement called Stofland during a walkabout in the protest- hit area of De Doorns, Thursday, 8 November 2012. Workers in the area clashed with police during protests for better wages this past week. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Thursday there is more to the De Doorns unrest than meets the eye.

She refuted reports that she was jeered and pelted with stones while addressing farm workers in the area on Thursday.

Tensions have been running high in the farming community all week. 

Western Cape Traffic authorities said motorists travelling on the N1 towards De Doorns should continue to make use of alternative routes as the road remains closed.

At least 30 hectares of vineyards have been destroyed and a farmer faces a charge of attempted murder for apparently opening fire on protestors.

They are demanding a wage increase from R75 to R150 a day.

However, the premier said that this was not the only problem.

“Many people have come from Lesotho for those jobs. They cannot get those jobs because they are not legally in South Africa. The farmers are no longer employing workers from Lesotho, most of the workers who were angry on Thursday, were Sotho speaking workers.”

Zille said she believes the situation is being politicised.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said it would continue mediating between striking farm workers and their employers in the Hex River Valley.

Western Cape officials have not ruled out the possibility that rogue elements were involved.

At least six protesters have been arrested for public violence.

Meanwhile, as the demonstrations by farm workers in De Doorns continued, it appeared that protest action was spreading, most recently to Wellington in the Boland.

Police said hundreds of disgruntled employees gathered outside a farm following a wage dispute.

Cape Winelands Health spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto said those in dire need of medication can access healthcare services in Worcester.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)



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