Police prepared for farm strikes

Workers in Phillippi plan to join the strike which has affected the Western Cape.

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

CAPE TOWN - The police said on Sunday, they believed the wage strike by farm workers in the Western Cape would intensify and they are well prepared to deal with any eventuality following days of violence.

Eyewitness News learnt that workers in Phillippi planned to join the strike which has affected the Boland, Cape Winelands, De Doorns and Ceres on Monday.

The police had their hands full last week when the workers torched vineyards, blocked roads with burning tyres and looted businesses.

Two people were killed during the industrial action.

28-year-old tractor driver Michael Daniels was killed when protesters clashed with the police in Wolseley, while farm labourer Bongani Ndleni was shot dead allegedly by unknown men in Ceres.

The police's Andre Traut said officers are investigating how Ndleni's death may be linked to the ongoing strike.

"The death of 40-year-old Bongani Ndleni is being investigated by the police after he died on Saturday morning, approximately six o'clock.

"No one has been arrested as yet."

Traut said officials will be deployed in all affected areas throughout the week in case more violence breaks out.

"The Western Cape police are ready for any occurrence, whatsoever, regarding the farm workers strike next week."

Meanwhile, traffic officials are still urging motorists to make use of alternative routes as the N1 highway outside De Doorns remains closed, due to the damage caused by striking farm workers there.

Provincial Traffic Chief Kenny Africa said demonstrators burnt tyres and hacked the road's surface in some parts.

"The only road that is still closed for traffic it the N1 De Doorns and the alternative route that we are using currently is through De Doorns' town."