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W.Cape farm protests spread

Farm worker protests have now spread from De Doorns into Ceres and Touwsrivier.

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

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson is said to be visiting the De Doorns area on Tuesday to hold talks with farmers and protesting farm workers who are demanding their daily wages be doubled.

Workers have rejected their employers' offer of R80, demanding they be paid R150 per day.

Protests have now spread to other parts of the Western Cape, hitting the Touwsrivier and Ceres areas on Tuesday morning.

Western Cape police spokesperson Andre Traut said they are also keeping an eye on the town of Ceres.

"We had a situation where veld was set alight in Ceres on Monday night, but the fire was brought under control very quickly. On Tuesday morning, groups of people were gathering on neighbouring farms in the Ceres area. Police are monitoring the situation and will deal with any occurrence."

In its second week now, the farm workers strike turned violent on several occasions.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille visited De Doorns last week, but failed to bring an end to the unrest.

One motorist said they had been urged to take detours.

"If you are coming out of Ceres toward Touwsrivier, there are tyres burning in the road."

Joemat-Pettersson is due to report back to farm labourers on talks held with interested parties.

The department warned that farm workers will eventually suffer, because there will be less work for them during the harvest.

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