Tensions flare in De Doorns

More protest action in De Doorns resulted in the torching of a house and more vineyards.

De Doorns farm workers went on a rampage over salaries on 6 November 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Tensions flared up again in De Doorns late on Wednesday night which lead to at least one house and more vineyards being torched.

Farm workers have been protesting over the past few days demanding better wages.

They want an increase from R75 to R150 per day.

The police's Andre Traut said, "No incident of any violence was reported on Thursday morning. However, on Wednesday night there were sporadic incidents of arson where the veld in the area was set alight. No one has been arrested. This will be monitored and a strong police presence remains in the area."

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.

The N1 has been closed between De Doorns and Worcester and 10 kilometers outside Touwsriver.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Education Department said the farm workers strike has affected schooling in the area.

Wednesday's talks to end the strike carried on until late with little solution.

Three clinics in the town have also been closed due to the protests which saw some shops looted and 30 hectares of vineyards burned.

The department's Paddy Atwell said schooling in the area was also affected.

"Ten schools in the area reported learner absenteeism ranging from 22 percent to 100 percent. At one school only 15 out of 37 staff members reported for duty."

"The unrest did not affect grade 12 exams at the three high schools in the area. The department is liaising closely with police to ensure protection for all concerned."

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.