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300 farmworkers return to work

Some of the Western Cape farmworkers have decided to abandon their strike action.

Protesting farm workers march through the De Doorns town centre on 6 November 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - About 300 farmworkers, who downed tools in Wolseley in the Western Cape earlier this week, returned to work on Friday.

Provincial secretary of the National Civic Organisation Vusi Myeki said the workers agreed to suspend the strike for at least two weeks, until a decision was made on their minimum wage.

Demonstrations over higher wages erupted in De Doorns last week and quickly spread to 16 farming towns.

Some table grape harvesters were demanding a daily wage of R150.

Most of the workers earn between R69 and R75.

The strike claimed a man’s life in Wolseley earlier this week.

Over 30 hectares of vineyards were also torched by the strikers during their demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape warned farming communities to be on the look-out for agitators who were sent in to stir trouble during the ongoing protests.

The party said a pattern emerged in several towns, which suggest that criminal elements were exploiting the situation for their own gain.

The DA said a pamphlet was distributed in the Theewaterskloof area, suggesting that the ANC was paying people to protest.

The DA's provincial spokesperson Liza Albrecht said, “According to the pamphlet, the ANC is thanking people in the area for partaking in the protest there, and claims to have money that they want to pay the people who took part.”

The ANC denied the allegation.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)

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