Agriculture MEC visits Ceres farmers

The Western Cape may provide assistance to farmers hardest hit by the recent farmworkers’ strike.

Western Cape Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg inspects a farm which was torched during a farmworkers strike in Ceres. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg on Friday said the recent farmworkers' strike has been a major setback, especially to emerging farmers.

Two weeks ago, farmworkers from De Doorns downed tools to protest over wages.

The strike quickly spread to 16 other farming town in the province.

The strike claimed two lives and many hectares of vineyards were destroyed by the demonstrators.

Van Rensburg toured a number of farms in the Ceres, which were affected by the violent industrial action.

A gutted and charred shell is all that remains of farmer Raymond Koopman's hay storehouse.

He said he lost a millions when striking workers torched the structure.

Koopman, one of the few Coloured farmers in the region, said he feels like he now has to start his operations from scratch.

Another imaging farmer, Cyril du Plessis, told the MEC thugs first stole doors and window frames of one structure on his plot before it was set alight.

Van Rensburg said he was looking into providing some form of assistance to farmers hardest hit by the strike and unrest.