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WC farmers likened to Nazis

MPs say they were met with guns and dogs when inspecting some Western Cape farms.

MPs say they were met with guns and dogs when visiting Western Cape farms.

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday warned it might not be possible to prevent farming strikes in the Western Cape from flaring up again next week.

At the same time, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Labour was briefed by inspectors from department on their blitz inspections at farms in the province during 2012.

Committee chairperson Mamagase Nchabeleng said when visiting some farmers in the Cape, MPs encountered "Nazis".

A fellow MP then remarked, "They had guns and dogs."

But Nchabeleng explained in spite of this, labour officials must not allow party politics to interfere with their jobs.

The Labour Department report, which was conducted on 21 Western Cape farms, revealed a mixed bag of contraventions.

Interestingly, labour disputes were not evident on many farms.

This follows violent protests which claimed the lives of two people.

De Doorns farmworkers embarked on a strike demanding a R150 salary per day and the industrial action quickly spread to 16 other towns.

Shops were looted and vineyards were torched by angry protesters.

The Labour Ministry has a December 4 deadline to change legislation guidelines on minimum wages, but Minister Mildred Olifant has warned this might not happen.

She also called on farmworkers to be calm and allow the negotiations to continue.