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WC cops unaware of Marikana warning

WC SAPS had no knowledge of a tip-off that Marikana-style protests would spread.

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

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer did not receive any intelligence that protestors were planning to spread Marikana-style protests to the Cape, he said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told the media that she had received a tip-off and passed the information onto police.

But on Thursday morning, Lamoer told the Kieno Kammies Show it was the first time he was hearing about it.

"I don't know where she got that information. We don't know anything about that."

With reports of fresh protests in De Doorns and Swellendam, Lamoer said police would continue to monitor rural farming communities on Thursday morning.

"The whole area is very tense at the moment. I know workers were called on to stop protests for two weeks. We will see if workers return to work."

The police commissioner said there are problems on the main highways as well.

The N1 at De Doorns and the N2 at Swellendam have been closed.

KEEP WAGE HIKES SENSIBLE

Meanwhile, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said the country cannot afford dramatic wage increases.

The SAIRR warned the instability seen in the mining and agricultural sectors could stifle job creation in the lower income bracket.

Farm workers across more than a dozen towns in the Western Cape have taken to the streets in the past two weeks demanding a daily wage increase of R150.

Many claim they are currently earning between R69 and R75 a day.

SAIRR Deputy CEO Frans Cronje said: "If you are a country with our levels of unemployment, it is always going to be very difficult to make the case for dramatic improvements in wage levels."

He said the state needs to work closely with organised agriculture before making any irrational decisions.

"If you're going to force the farming industry in the Western Cape to pay higher wages, you don't up the costs so quickly, to the extent that they decide that investing in mechanising the industry will cost just as much, without the liability of having to work with people."

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