Swellendam protests 'politically motivated'

The Western Cape govt has hinted that the ACDP and the ANC is behind the Swellendam protests.

A police vehicle lies on its side after protesting farmworkers went on the rampage in Wolseley in the Western Cape on 14 November 2012. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape government on Thursday said protests in Swellendam are not related to the ongoing farmworkers' strike in the province.

Protests flared up in the Overberg town late on Wednesday evening.

The N2 was reopened just a short while ago after demonstrators blockaded it with burning tyres and rubbish.

According to some residents, several shops have also been looted and damaged.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell said the trouble started after the Democratic Alliance (DA) won a court case against the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the ANC.

"On Monday evening, the ACDP and ANC councillors set up a public meeting and 10 minutes after that the unrest started."

Meanwhile, police said they were monitoring protestors in Gansbaai after workers embarked on illegal strike action.

Workers at the Atlantic Abalone Farm have taken to the streets on the coastal town in protest of low wage.

The police's Andre Traut said hundreds of workers are calling for their wages to be doubled.

"The situation is being monitored by police. At least 300 people started marching earlier."

At least 16 farming communities have been affected by the strike action in recent months.

The protests turned violent when protesters started torching vineyards and looting shops.

Workers are demanding better salaries and improved living conditions.

A 28-year-old farmworker was shot dead in Wolseley on Wednesday, allegedly by police.

At the same time, the ANC in the Eastern Cape has urged consumers to boycott Cape wines as it believes the industry is exploiting workers.