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De Doorns farmers, families flee homes

Agri Wes-Cape said farmers and their families fled their homes amid unrest in the Hex River Valley.

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

CAPE TOWN - Agri Wes-Cape on Saturday said many De Doorns farmers and their families have fled their homes amid unrest in the Hex River Valley.

Farm workers went on the rampage this week demanding higher daily wages.

Demonstrators blocked the N1 highway and burnt several hectares of vineyards.

Over the past few days, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been involved in talks between workers and employers to try and resolve the impasse.

Agri Wes-Cape's Portia Adams said, "Farmers had their families removed from area for their own safety because you can imagine the extent of the treats that are coming though."

She said officials are trying to resolve the issue.

"This situation is very unnecessary. If there are any concerns about any labour issues, we have said from the start that we are willing to talk and come to some sort of a conclusion."

Workers are demanding R150 a day as opposed to what they are currently getting, which ranges between R69 and R75.

Meanwhile, senior government officials are set to meet later on Saturday in an attempt to end the dispute.

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson has called on the various role players to come together and discuss the matter.

Her spokesperson Palesa Mokomele said the ministers of labour, police and provincial government officials were asked to attend the meeting.

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