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Farm workers ignore calls to end strike

Farm workers in Swellendam looted several shops in the town overnight.

Protesting farm workers in Wolseley 14 November 2012. Picture: Graeme Raubenheimer/EWN

CAPE TOWN - It would appear the farm workers strike is continuing unabated on Friday morning.

Police were forced to use rubber bullets on disgruntled protesters after several shops were looted in Swellendam overnight.

The strike action started in De Doorns last week but has since spilled into other small surrounding towns.

Farmers are demanding their wages be increased to R150 a month.

They claim they are currently earning a mere R75 daily and cannot support their families.

However, Local Government MEC Anton Bredell insisted the protests are related to the Democratic Alliance (DA) having won a court case against the ANC and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) on Monday.

Swellendam Municipality Mayor Nicholas Myburgh said, "The unrest was limited to one suburb on Thursday night. I believe considerable damage was done, mainly liquor stores were looted and completely stripped of their contents."

There are reports of violence in the area on Friday morning.

Earlier, some roads in the area were closed off to traffic but the situation has returned to normal.

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.

A number of areas were affected by violent strike action and several farms were torched by angry demonstrators.

On Wednesday, a 28-year-old man was killed in a police operation in Wolseley.