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Publication Details

Reference
South African Protest News 13 November - 14 December 2012
 (2012) South African Protest News 13 November - 14 December 2012
 : -.

Summary
Miners want to shut down NUM office
Omphemetse Molopyane (The New Age) 11 December 2012

Just over a month after mine workers in Limpopo returned to work after a long period of strikes and disruptions, workers at Dishaba mine in Amandelbult, Limpopo, went on a go-slow yesterday morning.

One of the workers, who identified himself as James, said the miners want the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) closed.

“We as workers want the NUM offices to close as we no longer want to be represented by them. We will go back to work today because management has promised that the offices will be closed by the end of business today,” James said.

Another worker at Dichaba, who also asked not to be named, claimed that the union had failed them. “NUM does not represent us as it is always on the side of the management. During the recent strike it was clear which side the union was on. We cannot continue to work with NUM because we do not trust that they have our best interests at heart,” the worker said.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union was unaware of the go-slow.

“We haven’t been informed about the incident but we will investigate it. Apart from that, it is unconstitutional for people to demand that NUM offices must be closed. If some people feel they want out of NUM they should do so peacefully,” Seshoka said.

Seshoka added that miners were free to leave the union and form their own if they felt they could be represent better and leave those who still wanted to be, part of NUM.

Limpopo police spokesperson Col Ronel Otto said the police were unaware of the go-slow.

Anglo Platinum spokesperson Mpumi Sithole could not be reached for comment.
www.thenewage.co.za


Eleven held for Klerksdorp looting
IOL News 11 December 2012

Eleven people were arrested on Tuesday for public violence and possession of stolen goods in Jouberton, outside Klerksdorp, police said.

They went on the rampage after evictions by the Matlosana municipality, said Lt-Col Lesego Metsi.

“Since this morning, the community members of the affected extensions gathered along the main streets and barricaded roads with stones and other objects,” said Metsi.

He said residents of informal settlements in the area began looting shops around 10am.

Two Pakistanis were injured in the attack.

Metsi said seven people were arrested for possession of goods thought to have been stolen from three businesses in the area. Four people were arrested for public violence.

They would be formally charges and would appear soon in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court.

He said the police continued to monitor the situation and urged residents “not to take their frustration and anger out on innocent residents and foreign nationals”.

“... We would like to urge all the parties to co-operate and resolve the situation amicably.” - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


ANC Intimidation in Clare Estate this Morning
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement 7 December 2012


March Gets Underway Despite ANC Intimidation in Clare Estate this Morning

From early this morning Ward 23 councillor Themba Mtshali went from shack settlement to shack settlement in Ward 23 intimidating people and warning them not to participate in today's march - which was been unlawfully banned by the local SAPS. Mtshali was accompanied by his BEC and his (always armed) bodyguards.

There was also a large police presence in the area. The police were heavily armed and had two water cannons. In light of the fact that it was the police that unlawfully banned the march and their history of violence against our movement - and their support of violence against us from the ruling party - their presence there may also have been a form of intimidation. We know that their work is often to protect the politicians - not the people or what's left of our democracy. However the marchers were able to assemble and to begin the march. The police did not try to disperse them so it seems that they have backed down from their ban in face of the pressure. There is also a strong media presence. However ANC supporters have massed at the councillor's offices and are saying that they will block us from delivering our memorandum.

Abahlali baseMjondolo have been joined by comrades visiting from Take Back the Land in the USA on this march.

For up to the minute information on the unfolding situation please contact:

Ntombemhlophe Zothwa: 083 218 1934
Zodwa Nsibande: 071 183 4383
www.abahlali.org
http://www.abahlali.org/


E-toll protest a success: Cosatu
IOL News 6 December 2012

Johannesburg - Cosatu's “drive-slow” against the tolling of Gauteng freeways on Thursday was a success, the union federation's Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile said.

“As Cosatu we are very happy, the 'drive-slow' was more than successful and raised awareness of the fight,” he said.

“This fight is not a fight for Cosatu only, it is a fight for South Africa.”

Dakile said they would not stop fighting against e-tolls until the system was scrapped. The protest was intended to send a message to the government.

“If they have not got the message yet, they will.”

Transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said the government noted the protest action and respected the right of individuals and organisations to protest. He said the department consulted with the public when the process of e-tolling started in 2007.

“All matters of concern were adequately addressed with concerned parties in all these sessions. Assertions that this project is being forced on South Africans are therefore devoid of truth.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions-led protest was to show opposition to the government's plans to toll major highways around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Two convoys of vehicles drove at 20km/h on major highways around Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. Protesters sang and danced as police urged them to speed up.

Stickers were handed to motorists that read: “Demolish e-tolls not houses”, “Crash privatisation -open national roads”, “Reclaim our national roads” and “Don't register with Sanral, don't buy e-tags”.

Johannesburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said traffic was affected throughout the day.

“Traffic was congested on the M1. The action caused the traffic on the highways to back-up.”

Shortly after their arrival at Masakhane Street in Katlehong, Cosatu provincial chairman Phutas Tseki thanked the police, unions and motorists for the success of the “drive-slow”.

“We are coming here in February and closing down all the e-tolls,” he told the group.

Last week, Cosatu threatened to occupy Gauteng streets, and block freeways if it did not receive positive feedback on memorandums handed to several departments.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance had brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling had yet to be made. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

N3 at a standstill
IOL News 6 December 2012

Protesters dance beneath N12 gantry
Johannesburg - The N3 near Katlehong on the East Rand came to a standstill late on Thursday afternoon as motorists joined Cosatu's anti-toll “drive-slow” convoy.

As police tried to get the motorists to speed up they slowed down even more.

Journalists and other people were stopped from parking on the side of the road to work or take pictures as police urged the protesters to drive faster.

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg group of the anti-toll protest, against the tolling of Gauteng's freeways, was heading along the M1 north, past the Booysens off-ramp, towards the CBD.

Traffic was moving slowly as motorists hooted and pumped their fists out of the windows.

Protesters want the e-toll system dropped. Last week the Congress of SA Trade Unions threatened to occupy Gauteng streets and block freeways during the protest.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling has yet to be made. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Protesters dance beneath N12 gantry
IOL News 6 December 2012

A “drive slow” protest against e-tolling came to a stop on the N12 near Soweto on Thursday afternoon as protesters left their cars to sing and dance beneath a gantry.

The impromptu demonstration by about a dozen people was disrupted when police roped in a tow-truck to remove the vehicle parked in front of the convoy.

A traffic officer shouted at them: “You cannot stop a car in this road.”

A Congress of SA Trade Unions protester jumped out of his vehicle and tried to stop them from attaching a chain to the car.

“No guys,” he shouted as the car was lifted to be towed away.

“All we ask is for you to move. Nothing else,” an officer responded.

Protesters and the police quarrelled about whether the car was being damaged as it was hastily towed away.

“They are towing us and the police are trying to create another Marikana,” protester Thabo Mokgopela said. He was referring to the shooting in Marikana, North West, on August 16, in which 34

striking mineworkers died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on a group of protesters.

The anti-toll protest was on the N12, on the way back to central Johannesburg.

A second convoy was on the N3, headed to Katlehong near the N12. Only one lane of the highway was open to traffic as more motorists joined the protest.

Both groups were returning to their starting points, moving at 20km/h.

The Cosatu-led protest was to show opposition to the government's plans to toll major highways around Johannesburg and Pretoria. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Cosatu’s anti-toll protest continues
IOL News 6 December 2012

The Cosatu-led anti-toll protest trundled on around Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon to a cacophony of hooting and shouts of support from people lining the highways.

On the R24 near the Barbara Road offramp in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, cars joined the convoy of anti-toll protesters, including a truck which blared out music as it snaked through the bypass, which is intended to be part of a pay-per-use road.

Roadside workers and people in shops and offices stopped their business to watch the spectacle, which was massively marshalled by police officials.

Only one lane out of the four usually filled with cars was open for the protest involving around 50 vehicles spanning about a kilometre.

When they reached a gantry at the OR Tambo International Airport, in Kempton Park, everybody stopped their cars and hooted, got out and danced on the road, only to be hustled back into their vehicles by the police.

They then slowly took the split for the R21 to Pretoria.

Further afield, on the N3 to Pretoria, another convoy of protesters was in the area of the Buccleuch interchange, also approaching a toll gantry.

Last week, Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) officials said they would take down the gantries to show their opposition to tolls, but have since said that they will not.

A truck driver believed that demolishing the toll gantries was the way to go.

“They should demolish those stupid things. We are already paying for these roads... and now they want to charge us double.”

Johannesburg metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said no bicycles were allowed to be part of the “drive-slow” protest.

Vehicles which were not part of the protest and which blocked traffic would be towed away.

Protesters want the e-toll system dropped.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance has brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling has yet to be made.

Protesters have until 2pm for their action, according to the permission granted. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Protesters block roads in Joburg
IOL News 10 December 2012

Johannesburg - Protests by residents of an informal settlement disrupted traffic between Krugersdorp and the Roodepoort business district on Monday, Johannesburg metro police said.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said residents from the Princess informal settlement had placed large rocks and stones on the road.

"Main Reef Road has been blocked off between Corlett Avenue and Wilgespruit Road," he said
www.news24.com


Raw sewage dumped in office
IOL News 7 December 2012

Bloemfontein - Tokologo municipality workers in Boshof in the Free State have refused to go to work after raw sewage was dumped in their office, the Volksblad newspaper report on Friday.

The report said angry residents dumped a bucket full of raw sewage in the office to protest against alleged nepotism by the municipal manager Sono Mofokeng.

An independent councillor Michael Lentsa told the newspaper the protesters wanted to talk to the municipal manager about the appointment of 10 people.

The protesters threw the sewage in the office when they heard Mofokeng was on leave. It is alleged that the posts were not advertised.

Residents, councillors and Mofokeng met for most of Thursday in the neighbouring town of Herzogville on the matter.

The newspaper said it was decided the appointments would be nullified, which was accepted by the residents.

However, the dumped sewage was not yet cleaned up by Thursday afternoon, the report said.
www.iol.co.za


Land rights activists in court
News 246 December 2012

Cape Town - Four land rights activists appeared in court after being arrested during farmworker protests in the Western Cape, the Cape Argus reported on Thursday.

Mercia Andrews, Denia Jansen, Margaret Visser and Riaan Willemse, of the Mawubye Land Rights Forum, faced charges of incitement, intimidation and participating in an illegal gathering, after their arrest on Tuesday.

They appeared in the Ashton Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, where they were released and their case postponed to January 21.

Andrews told the newspaper that no intimidation was used to encourage others to join a march they were participating in.

She said about 450 marchers gathered peacefully and were moving from farm to farm in the region, "inviting" others to join them.

They were making their way to a large packing store in the Koo Region near Montagu when their police escort apparently stopped them.

"When police tried to herd them back down the road, verbal insults were directed by the marchers at the police - as any person would do so when treated like this."

When the four accused approached the police and threatened to call the media, they were apparently escorted to a police van.
http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Land-rights-activists-in-court-20121206


NFP members vote in fear
Bongani Hans (IOL News) 5 December 2012

Even passing in the street is tense for IFP and NFP members in KwaMashu prior to todays by-election in the violence-torn area. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Durban - The National Freedom Party (NFP) members, who left their KwaMashu Hostel homes following alleged death threats from their political rivals, are expected to return on Wednesday to vote under police guard in the municipal by-election.

The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) KZN chief electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said the police presence had been beefed-up in the area.

On Tuesday, a handful of NFP members arrived in a convoy of vehicles at the IFP stronghold to campaign for their candidate Mzwemali Xulu.

Their arrival coincided with the special vote, for the elderly, sick and disabled.

Xulu is contesting the position against the IFP’s Sakhiwe Ngcamu and the ANC’s Sbongokuhle Mathonsi. The position was left open when the IFP councillor Themba Xulu was kidnapped and murdered in October.

NFP spokesman Skhumbuzo Zulu said many of those who had left their homes, fearing an attack, would need police protection to vote.

“Right now there are multi-party negotiations to restore peace here so that those who have been kicked out of their homes can return safely,” said Zulu.

The NFP gathered outside the hostel and the police led them inside.

As the convoy negotiated the narrow streets, NFP members threw away their complimentary party T-shirts, with Magwaza-Msibi’s image.

However, other people took the T-shirts and promised to vote for the NFP candidate.

“Most of our members are scared to come here following last week’s violence which left a number of cars damaged. Even now we are scared, but the police did a good job protecting us,” said Zulu.

IFP spokesman Edward Mngadi denied that NFP members had been chased from their houses.

“NFP members are welcome to come and vote as the IFP is committed to peace and free and fair elections,” he said.

Mosery said the IEC expected 17 000 people to vote at the hostel’s four voting stations.

“I’m confident this election will go well as we have not seen candidates’ posters being vandalised,” he said. - The Mercury
www.iol.co.za


Cheers as principal returns to school
Slindile Maluleka (IOL News) 5 December 2012

With just days to go before schools close, popular Umbumbulu principal Premilla Deonath, has been told to report for duty after her four-month “precautionary suspension” was lifted.

While pupils, teachers and parents at the top-performing Khulabebuka High School celebrated over her return, Deonath said she was confused by the new instruction, especially because the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education had not finalised its disciplinary inquiry in respect of serious charges levelled against, which she has denied.

She was suspended in July after allegations of mismanagement, maladministration and incitement of parents and the community.

The letter informing her of the lifting of her suspension was signed by department head Nkosinathi Sishi, on October 29, but was sent to her only on Monday, two days after a schools district official had called and instructed her to report to the Umbumbulu circuit office this week.

“I was excited but confused at the same time because it is dated October and I only received it now,” she said. “I don’t know where it has been.”

While Deonath has been reinstated, she is expected to continue attending the disciplinary hearing

, which had been postponed until January 22.

Deonath said she had attended the hearing on November 22 and 23, but no mention was made of her suspension being lifted.

“Since the beginning of the suspension, I have said I am 100 percent innocent. I have nothing to hide,” she said in a tearful interview

She blamed her predicament on internal squabbles at school. “It was internal politics, which I feel that my children should not have been dragged into, but now that I am back, everything will return to normal.”

Deonath’s forced absence had been felt at the school, where classes were disrupted for about a month as pupils, parents and school governing body (SGB) members protested against the suspension.

Despite the staff challenges at the school, it managed a 100 percent matric pass rate last year.

Deonath was welcomed back yesterday by cheering, singing and ululating crowds, and the blowing of vuvuzelas.

“This is such a surprise and the community is excited about her return,” said SGB secretary Ncamisile Ngcobo.

S’gananda Ngubane, the SGB deputy chairman, described Deonath as a hard-working principal and said she had adapted well as an Indian stationed in a historically black community.

“She doesn’t treat herself any different from us. There are no racial lines… she is one of us,” he said. “The community suffered emotionally when she was removed.”

Teacher Mandla Dlamini said the school was poorly managed in her absence.

“Now that Deonath is back, it means that the school would have a strong management team, teaching and learning would continue and the school operations would run smoothly,” he said.

Department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi, said the team of investigators looking into the allegations against Deonath had recommended that she resume her duties.

“She has been allowed to go back to work while the investigation continues,” he said. - Daily News
www.iol.co.za


Strike delays social grants in ECape
IOL News 4 December 2012

Payments to the beneficiaries of social grants were delayed in the Eastern Cape after Fidelity security workers embarked on an unprotected strike, a report said.

Eastern Cape - Payments to the beneficiaries of social grants were delayed in the Eastern Cape after Fidelity security workers embarked on an unprotected strike, a report said on Tuesday.

Fidelity transports money to Cash Payment Services (CPS) paypoints across the cities but on Monday, the services were delayed by hours as workers downed tools demanding a wage increase, DispatchOnline reported.

The strike affected beneficiaries in East London and Queenstown.

According to the online publication, payments were only made after Fidelity hired other people to transport money.

The strikers told the publication they resorted to a strike because the process of resolving their matter by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration was stalling.

Fidelity Security Group CEO Wahl Bartman confirmed the workers were striking and that the company deployed other people to do the job.

He said the strike was unprotected, the DispatchOnline reported. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Going nowhere slowly: Cosatu lays out e-toll protest plan
Mail & Guardian 4 December 2012

Highways in Ekurhuleni and Jo'burg will be gridlocked on Thursday as Cosatu protests against the controversial e-tolling system.

In what was initially billed as a protest to bring highways in the province to a standstill, the labour federation has now decided to lead convoys of at least 100 cars on routes in the two cities.

"We are calling on all interested parties to come forward and join this protest," Dumisani Dakile, the Congress of South African Trade Union's (Cosatu) Gauteng secretary told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday.

"This is about taking on a system that will cost workers and everyday citizens too much money."

The Johannesburg leg of the action will begin in Braamfontein, with protestors gathering in Jorissen Street outside Cosatu House from 6am.

Deploying at 9am, the convoy will travel down the M1 highway heading north from Smit Street.

Proceeding to the Buccleuch interchange, the convoy will move on the N1 south to the M2 east exit, before re-entering the Johannesburg city centre via Rissik Street.

Routes
The Ekurhuleni leg of the action will also commence at 6am, with protestors gathering at Mboro Church in Alrode.

The convoy is due to start at 9am, joining the Heidelburg Road on-ramp of the N3 and heading north along the N3, N12, R24, and R21 to the Nelmapius off-ramp in Centurion.

It will then head back south on the R21, travel down the N12 west towards Johannesburg and back on to the N3 south before arriving in Alrode.

Both convoys plan to travel at no faster than 10kph, and the trip is estimated to take seven hours and aim to finish at 3pm.

Cosatu also had plans to lead a protest convoy in Tshwane but called it off.

"This is just the beginning," Dakile said. "We will see how this protest goes and then see if we can get even bigger next year."

No violence
Cosatu added there would be measures in place to ensure the protest did not turn rowdy or violent, following reports last week that the labour federation planned to trash the system's gantries.

The controversial tolling system requires commuters to fit an e-tag that will monitor each time they pass a gantry on the highway and be charged electronically. Vehicles without an e-tag will have their licence plates monitored and billed for their journeys. If people refuse to fit e-tags, they will be barred from renewing their vehicle licenses until all outstanding fees have been paid and an e-tag fitted.

The government and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) are squaring up against the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in the North Gauteng High Court over the implementation of e-tolling.

Outa argues there was a lack of public consultation on the state's part in bringing the system into action.

An interdict was previously granted by the North Gauteng High Court against the introduction of e-tolling in April.

The Constitutional Court overturned the interdict, ruling that courts could not directly interfere in the implementation of government policy.

Indecision
Ratings agency Moody's previously warned the continued indecision over the implementation of e-tolling threatens South Africa's credit rating.

Cosatu could not confirm if Outa would officially be involved in Thursday's action but said the drive-slow would "assist" in their legal fight against the system.

"It is about showing government how angry citizens are and how opposed they are to e-tolling," Dakile said
mg.co.za


Mpuma hospital hit by strike: DA
IOL News 4 December 2012

Workers at the Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas, Mpumalanga, have gone on strike because of unpaid overtime, the DA claimed on Tuesday

It was critical for the hospital to resume its usual operations as soon as possible, provincial Democratic Alliance chief whip James Masango said in a statement.

The provincial health department was not immediately able to comment on the matter or verify that workers were striking. Hospital management could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The unnecessary and uncalled-for strike action has forced hospital management to only admit and treat emergency cases, while all general admissions (and) out-patients... have been (turned) away,” Masango said. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Armed men arrested as farm strike resumes
IOL News 4 December 2012

Franschhoek - Police arrested seven armed men on Tuesday as farm workers in South Africa's picturesque winelands resumed strike action, with tension enveloping the Western Cape region.

The men, suspected to be members of the far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), were found with one firearm and 60 rounds of ammunition at a roadblock leading to the epicentre of the farmworkers strike.

Regional police spokesman Andre Traut said the suspects aged between 33 and 66 years “were driving in the direction of De Doorns when their vehicle was searched.”

It was in De Doorns - outside Cape Town - that last month's unrest began, leaving two dead and vineyards burnt.

On Tuesday, there were however few signs of a repeat of last month's deadly violence as the strike resumed.

The strike, which comes at the start of South Africa's grape harvest season, turned violent in November when workers burned vineyards, looted shops and blockaded streets with burning tyres in towns close to Cape Town.

Many of the farmers have since hired private security firms to protect their property while the police have sent hundreds of additional officers to monitor the area.

Mario Wanza, a spokesman for the Farmworkers Strike Coalition, said a number of farm workers and protests organisers were arrested after the police fired rubber bullets in the area of Paarl, in the orange farming town of Citrusdal and near the town of Montagu.

“A number of people were shot,” he said. “We expect the strike to carry on for a number of days.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said the situation in farming communities was “under control” late on Tuesday afternoon.

Porschia Adams, a spokeswoman for AgriWes-Cape, which represents farmers in the Western Cape province, said farm workers marched to the group's offices in Paarl to hand over a memorandum of demands.

“About 200 people came in a group,” she said. “It was very small. Most of the areas today were quiet.”

Workers are demanding that their 70 rand ($8) daily wages be increased to 150 rand ($17).

Adams said a strike was unusual for the farming industry, where wage disputes were normally resolved “on the ground”.

“Farm workers do not normally strike. They are partners in business and they realise what their role is. They sort their issues out on the farm with the farmers.”

Adams said farmers were “reassessing their risks and thinking about alternatives” to using labour.

The fruit industry in the Western Cape employs around 200 000 permanent workers and 200 000 casual labourers.

Michael Loubser, a spokesman for Hex Valley Table Grape Farmers Association, said no violence had been reported early on Tuesday.

“About 95 percent of the permanent staff are at work today,” he said.

The only people who were not able to work were those from the nearby Stofland informal settlement, he said.

“The workers there have been told that if they go to work there will be consequences,” Loubser said.

So far talks to end the dispute have remained deadlocked.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has said that the basic wage may only be reviewed one year after it was put in place, according to legislation, with the current level dating to March this year.

Tony Ehrenreich, the general secretary of Western Cape branch of union federation Cosatu, said discussions with farmers had been fruitless.

“So far our discussions have yielded no results.” - Sapa-AFP
www.iol.co.za

Farmworkers’ strike is over
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 5 December 2012

Western Cape - The general strike by workers in the province’s agricultural sector has been called off indefinitely, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich announced during a rally in De Doorns on Tuesday.

The decision and the premise on which it was made was welcomed by farmers approached by the Cape Argus.

Workers would be encouraged to unionise or to organise into collective bargaining bodies and to negotiate directly with their employers.

This echoed the sentiments of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies who addressed workers in De Doorns 24 hours before Cosatu’s announcement.

“The demand for a R150-a-day living wage remains unchanged,” Ehrenreich said, adding that a demand for farmworkers to have a share in the profits of the export harvest had been added.

“Workers will negotiate with their employers. We trust that agreements on farms could be reached through such a process.”


A woman protester shouts out as she and others protest against low wages paid by farmers, by burning tires in the township at Franschhoek. Photo: AP

AP
Ehrenreich said strikes would resume on individual farms where agreements were not reached by January 9 next year.

This would coincide directly with “one of the most critical periods in the harvesting process, ensuring that farmers are under maximum pressure to reach an agreement with their workers before then”.

Unions, particularly Cosatu affiliate the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the independent Building and Allied Workers Union of SA (Bawusa), have been signing up new members since the strike began four weeks ago.

But, in Fawu Western Cape chairman Timothy Ncwana’s words, the competition between the unions was distracting from the process of publicising workers’ grievances while the strike was still ongoing.

Unions will now have carte blanche to recruit members.

“But, workers rights will always be protected by Cosatu – whether they are members of a union or not. Cosatu commits to staying abreast of negotiations that will be ongoing, and will take steps to ensure that there is no abuse of workers in these negotiations,” Ehrenreich said.

Anton Rabe, spokesman for Agri SA, welcomed the announcement.

“From the beginning we have accepted that there are challenges in our industry. But throughout we have called for proper processes to be put in place to address these.

“This is a welcome step in the right direction. I have remained an optimist from day one that we would end this process better than we started it,” he said, referring to the start of the strike on November 5 when vineyards in De Doorns were torched and shops looted.

However, farmworker Monwabisi Kondile said he was unhappy because Cosatu had been “playing football with the workers”.

He said at one moment they said they should strike and the next that they should not.

The strikes due to resume on Tuesday had different levels of support in the province.

In Ceres, Pieter du Toit of the Du Toit Group estimated that close to 100 percent of the workforce had gone to work on Tuesday.

In De Doorns, while many workers supported the stayaway, many went to work.

In these two areas the strike went ahead with few reports of intimidation and violence.

By late on Tuesday, there was a tense stand-off between police and farmworkers in Rawsonville.

Farmworkers allege that police opened fire with rubber bullets at a taxi rank at about 3pm.

The workers had returned from a march, organised by the Farmworkers Coalition, during which a memorandum was handed over to the offices of Agri Wes Cape – which represents farmers’ interests – and the Department of Labour in Paarl.

“The workers who left Paarl were in a good mood. The workers that are here are angry and tense,” said Colette Solomon, acting director of Women on Farms who was on the scene.

She slammed the police for “inciting tension rather than defusing it”.

But the police said they were attacked by stone-throwers before firing rubber bullets.

In Montagu, two activists with Mawubuye Land Rights and three workers were arrested during a march, said Gavin Joachims, a colleague of the activists.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said seven people had been arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm on the N1 outside Worcester.

A .308 Mauser and 60 rounds of ammunition had been found in a vehicle and no one could produce a valid licence for their possession, Traut said.

The suspects, aged between 33 and 66, were due in court once they had been charged, he said.

Meanwhile, Franschhoek police confirmed that about 500 farmworkers took to the streets in the Groendal area on Tuesday, burning tyres and causing havoc on the town’s roads.

Constable Marize Papier said the protesters were kept off the farms, and that no farms had been damaged.

“At the moment everything is under control, it’s all quiet now.

“There were about 500 workers and no one went on the farms and no one demolished any property,” Papier said.

About 30 police officers had been deployed to the scene.

Traut said a number of people were arrested for public violence.

“I can’t give an exact number yet, but about 15 people were arrested and there were a number of people injured,” he added.

daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za


‘Violent hooligans’ disrupt nominations
Genevieve Quintal 1 December 2012

The ANC in Limpopo had to abandon its nomination conference after a group, believed to be supporters of President Jacob Zuma, stormed the venue and intimidated delegates, the party said on Saturday.

“(The) conference was collapsed (on Friday night) by violent hooligans,” provincial spokesman Makonde Mathivha said.

“Delegates had to flee the venue. It was terrifying.”

Mathivha said it was very clear to the party in Limpopo who the people were, claiming that former provincial secretary Joe Maswanganye was part of the group.

“They wore T-shirts with the face of Zuma,” he said.

“It's a group refusing to accept the provincial conference (that took place) last year.”

Maswanganye was defeated at Limpopo's provincial elective conference last year and replaced by current secretary Soviet Lekganyane.

Mathivha said it was worrying when people within the ruling party could not respect the internal democratic processes.

Limpopo delegates were unable to nominate their preferred candidates for leadership of the party ahead of the national elective conference (NEC) in Mangaung.

Mathivha said Lekganyane was liaising with African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to discuss the way forward.

“This will be founded on what the secretary-general decides,” he said.

Mantashe said nomination processes in Limpopo had been suspended after Friday night's incident.

He said the national executive committee would meet on Monday to discuss whether Limpopo should convene its nomination conference at another time.

“This will have to be endorsed by the NEC.”

Limpopo has battled to get the process of nomination started.

Earlier this week, it had to postpone its nomination conference at the last minute to allow branches to complete branch general meetings.

They were given until Friday to do this. This was also the deadline for nominations set by the NEC.

Mantashe said majority of the ANC's provinces and leagues had managed to hold successful conferences.

“We have three outstanding, Limpopo, North West and Western Cape. There are difficult provinces and we are managing these,” he said.

North West was expected to nominate candidates on Saturday afternoon. The Western Cape adjourned its Provincial General Council (PGC) early on Saturday morning without endorsing preferred candidates.

Limpopo's regions differed in their nomination of who should lead the party for the next five years.

Some wanted Zuma to retain his position while others wanted change, calling for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to take the reigns. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Court order against Tshwane land invasion
IOL News3 December 2012

Tshwane metro municipality has been granted a court order against the invasion of government-owned land in Soshanguve south, north of Pretoria, the Gauteng housing department said on Monday.

The land was invaded in November and the invaders were evicted by the municipality, departmental spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa said in a statement.

The land, which consists of 800 stands, was earmarked for the development of low cost housing.

“Even following the start of the construction of houses on these stands, illegal invasion continued,” said Motlhaolwa.

“The mushrooming of shacks on the vacant stands and several attempts by the municipality to remove the illegal invaders until now, proved to be problematic.”

Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said: “I hope this court order will help to get the message across that we will not stand by and let these lawless invasions disrupt our services to the people any longer.”

Motlhaolwa said Gauteng residents could help the government by reporting illegal land invasions and the building of shacks on government-owned land. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


'R150 a day or we stay away'
Daneel Knoetze 3 December 2012

Cape Town - Farmworkers have reasserted their demand for a daily wage of R150. With no offer from farmers on the table, and with Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant saying a new sectoral determination for a minimum wage would take at least four months, strikes in the agricultural sector are set to resume on Tuesday.

“The farmers have intimidated us with dismissal, but we have gone too far to turn around now. They can’t intimidate us, we have lived under intimidation for 18 years since democracy,” said Merchia Adams of Mawubuye Land Rights, which convened a meeting in Ashton on Sunday.

There would be a complete stayaway on Tuesday.

“People will block the gates of the their respective farms to prevent scab labour from entering,” she added.

Support for a stayaway was also agreed upon at a Women on Farms meeting in De Doorns on Sunday.

Over the weekend, the Cape Argus interviewed a group of workers at the Keurboschkloof export grape farm in De Doorns.

Many workers in De Doorns agree that the successful strike at Keurboschkloof in September was the catalyst for the recent unrest on farms which spread province-wide.

Between September 17 and 22, workers on Keurboschkloof picketed outside the farm gates after being unfairly dismissed for refusing to accept a cut in their wages.

A committee elected by the workers negotiated with a senior stakeholder at SA Fruit Exporters, resulting in about 300 dismissed workers being reinstated.

After the celebration of that victory, workers at Keurboschkloof watched in despair as the strike in De Doorns descended into violence and a competition between two unions - the Cosatu-aligned Fruit and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and independent Black Association for the Agricultural Sector.

Jesaja Louw, regional chair for Fawu in Worcester, said the competition was inevitable.

Yet, Timothy Ncwana, Fawu’s provincial chairman, condemned a recruitment drive, saying it was “not the right time”.

“First the unions must assist the workers in getting their demands. Then, once they are happy, we can work on signing people up,” he said.

Owen Maromo, an activist with a refugee rights NGO, which advised Keurboschkloof workers during the September strike, said communication from the unions to the people in De Doorns had been lacking since the broad-scale strike began.

Maromo, an upstart politician who had to flee Zanu-PF persecution in Zimbabwe in 2008, said he was fired from a grape farm for his involvement in Keurboschkloof and had been sidelined, intimidated and silenced by “opportunistic politicians” who had claimed to represent the workers.

His disillusionment with ANC councillors was shared by Keurboschkloof worker Cornelia Mtsila who alleged Nelie Barends, an ANC councillor and private labour broker, had tried to bring in scab labourers to undermine the September strike.

“Now he is claiming to represent the workers. This is only a political game to score points for them,” she said.

Barends confirmed he was approached by farmers for scab labour, but said he had been misinformed and that he retracted this scab labour when he found out no agreement had been reached with striking workers.

After a farmworkers’ meeting on the De Doorns sports field on Sunday, where there was no clear leadership present, Maromo broke his silence.

In an argument with Louw, Maromo said unions and politicians had failed the workers. “People are confused. There is no communication, and there are virtually no farmworkers officially representing the cause,” he said. “If workers’ committees and farmers sat down opposite each other from the beginning, this would have been sorted out a long time ago.”

Cosatu said on Sunday that despite unions’ best efforts, it appeared they would not be able to avert the resumption of the strike tomorrow.

“What we know is that workers have called for one day of action across the whole agriculture sector across South Africa on December 4,” it said.

AgriWes Cape declined to comment.

daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za
Cape Argus
http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/r150-a-day-or-we-stay-away-1.1434456


Call for port protest
Look Local 3 December 2012

THE South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is calling for a protest on Saturday, December 1 against what it calls the unjustified spatial development of the Durban port.

“The Back of Port (BOP) plans have ignored significant social and environmental considerations in favour of economic development. The South Durban area will experience severe environmental and social disruption related to the port expansion,” said Desmond D’Sa of the SDCEA.

As part of a campaign against the expansion, and with the support of South Durban residents, the SDCEA will protest in resistance of these plans proposed by the municipality and Transnet.

Many people have objected to the rezoning of residential areas for logistic purposes, including vociferous opposition from Clairwood residents.

According to Desmond, “eThekwini Municipality and Transnet have not engaged the public in a meaningful and transparent manner regarding the port expansion plans. Presentation of the cumulative impacts of the plans has been ignored, and rather a piecemeal presentation of the individual projects has been offered to the public. Consultation with the public has been top-down, despite the eThekwini Mayor, James Nxumalo and the deputy city manager, Sipho Cele promising a bottom-up approach on two occasions.”

Despite the municipality promising meaningful stakeholder forums to be set up before the November 22 deadline for public participation, Desmond said no feedback has been received and the forums never materialised.

“If they want to talk, we are more than willing to meet them halfway, but they seem unwilling to engage.”

Many people are expected at the protest from the South Durban Basin, Umbilo, Kwamakhutha, Folweni, Umlazi, Isipingo, Inanda, Chatsworth and even Pietermaritzburg. Environmental experts and other specialists will be addressing the protestors. Mayor James Nxumalo, Premier Zweli Mkhize, Transnet manager Thami Ntshingila and municipal manager, Sibusiso Sithole have been invited to respond to complaints.

The protest will begin at 9am in Langeberg Road, at the Durban Container Terminal. The SDCEA calls for uniformity through the wearing of red clothes.


Support cosatu action to stop open road tolling in Gauteng
Cosatu 3 December 2012

The next phase of COSATU’s campaign of mass action against the e-tolling of our highways, will be a protest slow drive on the highways of Ekurhuleni on Thursday 6 December 2012.
Motorists are urged to assemble from 06h00 at the Old Trade Centre (Now Mboro Church), cnr Black Reef and Masakane Streets, near the Scaw Metal factory, Alrode. From 09h00 the convoy will join the N3 at the Heidelberg Road on-ramp, then drive North along the N3, N12, R24, and R21 to the Nelmapius off-ramp in Centurion and then back South on the R21, N12 West towards Johannesburg and back on to the N3 South before dispersing.
To get further information, COSATU Gauteng Province invites the media to a press conference, the details of which are:
DATE: Wednesday 5 December 2012
TIME: 11h00
VENUE: 5th Floor, COATU House, 110 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.
Dumisani Dakile (Provincial Secretary)
COSATU Gauteng Province
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Braamfontein
2017

Tel: + 27 11 873-2610 / 11
Fax: +27 11 873-1272
Mobile: +27 82 727 1422
E-Mail: dumisani@cosatu.org.za

Cosatu march against e-tolls
Look Local 3 December 2012

Benoni residents will join the rest of Gauteng in watching with enthusiasm as the Congress Of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) embark on a build-up to the “mother of all battles” starting today, November 30, with a gathering at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg

The planned protest action against e-tolls will begin at 9am.

Cosatu communications officer Norman Mampane reaffirmed Cosatu's stance on the etolls.

"We reject e-tolls and encourage motorists not to buy any e-tags," said Mampane.

Mampane said the marchers will leave Mary Fitzgerald Square just after 11am and make their way along Bree to Simmonds Street and hand over memorandums at the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and the Premier’s Office.

Mampane said a similar march will be taking place in Pretoria, starting out from Schubert Park.

"We are also going to discuss plans to have a freeway protest, next week," he said.

The highways affected will include the N1, N3, N4 and both the M1 and M2.
Video


COSATU NW marches against exploitation of workers and corruption
Cosatu 27 November 2012

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the North West will today, 28th November 2012, march against the rampant exploitation that the farm workers and the workers at the new Supermarket called Choppies are experiencing.

COSATU has been informed that Choppies pays workers slave wages and workers are subjected to unbearable working conditions which are against the Basic Condition of Employment Act.

COSATU NW condemns the attitude of the Minister of Labour in responding negatively to the amendment of the sectoral determination of farm workers to make sure that workers receive a living wage and the improvement of their conditions of service.

We support the workers’ demand for R150 per day and our campaign will be intensified come on 4the December 2012 to make sure that government listens to the poor workers.
COSATU has also been inundated with calls about the spate of corruption and nepotism that is taking place in the office of the Department of Education in Delareyville. It is reported that some of the corrupt officials are defended by politicians and that they are giving them a ticket of continue to loot our government with their tenders while employed by government. This is a fight that we will not stop.

We demand that workers who are in the rural areas must be paid their rural allowance as per the legislation in the Department of Education. All temporary educators must be employed as permanent educators and paid a proper salary. All those who are implicated in corruption and nepotism must go.

COSATU will demand that Choppies pays workers better salaries and improves their working conditions. It will also demand a thorough investigation into the allegations of corruption and nepotism in the Department of Education.

The march will start at 13h00 at extension 7 in front of George Madoda primary school and will proceed to the Department of Education and then Choppies stores.

For more information feel free to contact Solly Phetoe COSATU North West Provincial secretary at 082 304 4055


‘Paintball guns fired at workers’
Natasha Prince (IOL News) 27 November 2012

Cape Town - Workers who downed tools at a County Fair chicken factory in Stellenbosch over wages claim they were fired at with paintball guns while picketing outside the factory.

Workers spent the day picketing outside the County Fair offices in Muldersvlei along the R304 on Monday.

Theo Delport, managing director for the poultry division of Astral Foods, confirmed that workers were on strike and that they were “not happy with what’s on the table”.

“The chicken industry is in crisis at the moment [and is] not performing very well. It’s all about affordability, but it doesn’t help our cause if the [strikers] are damaging property,” Delport said.

Management said they had to count costs to keep head above water.

The workers said they wanted R1 500 a week. They added that they were currently earning about R499 a week after deductions.

“This year we’ve heard nothing about increases. We’ve got nothing and they’ve been quiet,” said one worker who asked not to be named.

She said the strike started last Wednesday, but that operations had not ceased at the factory. She claimed that management had bused in casual staff.

By Monday afternoon, a group of about 100 people sat at the entrance of the factory near the offices along the R304 Klipheuwel Road.

After a while they had started marching slowly, singing and dancing and waving sticks, sjamboks and posters. About four police vehicles were parked close by and officers stayed close to the protesters as they moved towards the offices.

Earlier in the day police stepped in to disperse the crowd, some of whom claimed they were shot at with paint ball guns by the factory’s security.

Delport denied that shots were fired from their security guards.
www.iol.co.za


8 arrested after hostel violence
Mpume Madlala (IOL News) 27 November 2012

Durban - Police have arrested eight people for public violence and malicious damage to property after people were injured when at least 20 cars were stoned near the KwaMashu Hostel on Sunday.

A journalist’s car was also set alight.

The spike in violent confrontations and political killings has forced the IEC to postpone yesterday’s signing of a peace pact between parties in the province.

Thabani Ngwira, IEC provincial spokesman, said the signing had been re-scheduled indefinitely.

“We have done this because of the political unrest and the violence in certain areas,” he said.

He said that the body would make an announcement with regard to when the pact would be signed.

Sunday’s incidents took place when NFP president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi was driving to the hostel in convoy with party members for a meeting at a hall.

Police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said a group of about 300 people, believed to be IFP supporters, had, however, blocked the road leading to the hostel using skips, rubbish and scrap metal, among other things.

“Public order police were deployed to the area to stop the violence that was happening in the area,” Mdunge said.

“The eight were arrested later in the afternoon and will appear in court once they have been formally charged.”

The NFP leader said at a press conference yesterday that she had never witnessed such mayhem.

She said that it was sad that in a democracy, one party could claim dominance and hegemony of a certain area and publicly undermine the rule of law.

“The NFP is concerned about the political intolerance at the hostel just before the by-election in ward 39 and we fear this might cause resurgence of black-on-black violence as we saw it between the IFP and the ANC, which claimed more than 20 000 lives,” she said.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said they had gone to the hostel to campaign and to ask people to vote in the December 5 by-election.

“The IFP members stoned more than 20 cars and damaged them badly,” she said. “Many of our members were hurt and were taken to clinics for check-ups and treatment. In the light of what the IFP members do in that hostel, the NFP doubts whether the election will be free and fair.

According to kaMagwaza-Msibi, NFP members living at the hostel were even afraid to wear their party T-shirts because their homes would be stoned and the windows broken.

Party agents were scared to do their work there because of threats and the high level of intimidation by IFP supporters, she added.

She called on the IFP to urge its members to desist from causing violence.

“We are in a democratic country and any political party has a constitutional right to campaign freely,” kaMagwaza-Msibi said. “We never thought 18 years into democracy there [would be] members of a political party who would destroy and even burn the cars and property of journalists.”

She said the party sympathised with the journalists who were exposed to victimisation.

“We view these actions as a direct attack on the people who are the vanguard of our democracy – the journalists,” she said. “We are happy that some suspects were arrested and we hope that the law will take its course.”

KaMagwaza-Msibi said the NFP believed in “negotiations, peace and stability” and was committed to multiparty talks.

IFP spokesman, Blessed Gwala, said the situation at the hostel was not out of control.

“What happened was the result of the NFP not announcing that they were going to come to the hostel and not consulting with the peace structures at the hostel who would have informed their members not to interfere.” - Daily News
www.iol.co.za

Violence between IFP, NFP supporters erupts in KwaMashu
Sapa 25 November 2012

Police were unable to contain violent clashes between National Freedom Party (NFP) members and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters in KwaMashu.

South African Press Association reporter Giordano Stolley lost his car in the unrest in the Durban township on Sunday.

"There were too few people for the tensions that existed," he said.

He estimated that 100 police officers were at the scene, where NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi was blocked from entering KwaMashu's A section.

Most of the police attended the front of her convoy, which was initially peaceful.

Her convoy consisted of about 30 cars or more.

A group of about 200 IFP supporters blocked their way carrying sticks and bottles. Two people were carrying a banner bearing a picture of IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Trouble
Protesters ignored an order to disperse. The convoy's tail end was stoned and shots were fired.

"When the tail end got hammered there was nothing [the police] could do," Stolley said.

Realising there was trouble ahead, he pulled his car over and got out to take pictures.

While he was gone, the car was moved out into the road and set on fire.

Two journalists who had remained with the car were pelted with stones by the crowd.

"I realised there were no cops anywhere," said Stolley. By the time he managed to get back to the car, with bricks and stones flying, it was too late to intervene.

By the time police arrived on the scene, the car was already burnt out, he said.

'Angry'
Stolley also lost his laptop, hard drive, and camera bag in the blaze.

"I really liked the car. It was one of those imported Brazilian Fiats that went everywhere and anywhere, and it was very economical," he said.

Stolley also lost pictures and videos of his daughter which had not been backed up.

"I'm just angry and agitated," he said.

"My feeling is that there were too few people for the tensions that existed. I'm not sure Msibi was wise to even be there," he said.

Other cars were also damaged, with another press car pelted with stones, and NFP car windows were shattered.

Police said investigations were continuing into public violence and malicious damage to property.

Colonel Vincent Mdunge said no arrests had been made yet.

'A terrible situation'
NFP spokesperson Nhlanhla Khubisa said when their supporters entered KwaMashu they saw a group of singing IFP supporters carrying pangas and sticks.

"When we were passing by our cars were stoned, windows [were] smashed. It was a terrible situation. And a car belonging to a journalist was burnt to ashes," said Khubisa.

The NFP had intended to prepare for by-elections next month at a hostel in the area.

IFP spokesperson Mdu Nkosi said the party wanted to sympathise with Stolley.

"For now we can't take the blame or deny it. In those hostels there are people staying there but not belonging to political parties… they might have taken opportunity to do criminal acts hiding under politics," said Nkosi.

He said the IFP would do its own investigation to find out if their members were involved.

"I don't want to say we know who did it," Nkosi added. – Sapa
mg.co.za


Western Cape farmers fear more mayhem
Daneel Knoetze 24 November 2012

WESTERN Cape farmers are gearing up for further labour unrest, forking out money for heavily-armed private security guards, who use helicopters and wear bullet-proof vests, and buying fire engines in anticipation of chaos as time runs out for finding solutions to the farm wage crisis.

Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich, meanwhile, warned that further strike action from farmworkers was virtually inevitable unless “government and the farmers bring an acceptable agreement for a wage hike” to the fore.

A helicopter was circling De Doorns this week, scanning the area where farmworkers first downed tools for any sign of protest action.

Yesterday, the president of Agri Wes Cape, Cornie Swart, called a group of 300 farmers to action.

“Go back to your homes and prepare to defend yourselves, your farms, your property and your families. We were caught with our pants down (two weeks ago). We cannot allow that to happen again,” he warned them.

Swart appealed for President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

“If the president does not step in to rein in Cosatu there will be serious bloodshed,” he cautioned.

Pictures have been posted on a website of armed security guards preparing for action.

After government intervention, striking workers last week agreed to suspend further action until December 4 for government and the farmers to thrash out solutions.

But yesterday, at a meeting convened by the Department of Labour, farmers were adamant that they could not afford the R150 per day strikers demanded.

Last week, Weekend Argus reported that farmers in De Doorns were arranging for private security companies to secure their properties. In some cases, air support was on standby. It is understood that the situation is similar in the Ceres area.

Swart accused Cosatu of secretly agitating strikers towards violence.

Negotiations between Cosatu, the Department of Labour and AgriSA got under way in Cape Town on Thursday, but there is little optimism that they will reach agreement before the deadline.

Meanwhile, the parties are at loggerheads over the December 4 deadline for the law on the minimum wage to be changed to address the strikers’ demands.

Farmers have demanded to know what the department’s strategy is for preventing “bloodshed and farm burning” on December 4.

But, officials deny ever having committed to such a date and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s office has distanced itself from the two-week deadline.

Spokesman Palesa Mokomela told Weekend Argus the minister had merely acted as an intermediary between Cosatu and the Department of Labour in urging strikers on November 13 to suspend their protests for two weeks while a long-range solution was found.

“At the time it was imperative that a deal was brokered for the strike action to be called off,” Mokomela said. “We had reports that the strike was spreading beyond De Doorns and we realised that there was the potential for massive damages to be incurred. The situation needed to be disarmed as a matter of urgency.”


But almost two weeks later, it remained “highly unlikely” a wage agreement could be agreed and implemented, according to AgriWC’s Porchia Adams.

At yesterday’s meeting in the Worcester Town Hall, farmers resisted discussion of a sectoral wage determination, demanding instead to know what the department’s strategy was for preventing mayhem from breaking out.

Titus Mtsweni, the department’s acting director of labour standards, said the department had no such mandate.

“This has nothing to do with the fourth of December,” added Thembinkosi Mkalipi, chief director of Labour Relations – at which point a farmer heckled from the floor: “It has everything to do with the fourth of December.”

Mkalipi continued: “This hearing is about whether or not there is a case to be made for the minimum wage to be reviewed. You are business people, I am asking you a simple question: Can you manage to pay R150? If you cannot, then explain to us why not. Explain to us what you can manage. We must come back to this issue. If we do not, then you forfeit your opportunity to contribute to the (determination of a minimum wage).”

The meeting was the second in a series of hearings which will run at the same time as negotiations. The hearings, which will conclude on December 13 with hearings in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, involve getting input from both farmers and workers.

“We made it clear (at negotiations in) De Doorns that we are not negotiating, we are not putting an amount on the table. You are trying to force us to do so, but you know very well that it takes a whole year to determine the minimum wage. Who are we bluffing to say that it can be done in a couple of weeks,” said one De Doorns farmer

Swart drew attention to the fact that the industry in the Western Cape had suffered millions of rand in damages.

“Add to these expenses the fact that we now have bulk up our private security and buy fire trucks and those expenses are considerably inflated,” said Johan de Wet, a farmer in Rawsonville and chairman of Du Toits Kloof wines.

Mike Louw of Cosatu said that “feedback from the department” was not enough to avert strike action on December 4.

“Our reality is that we want an offer on the table from AgriSA to emanate from these discussions by December 4. If we do not, the strike will be relaunched,” he said.

But Adams stressed that AgriWC had not endorsed the two-week agreement.

De Doorns’ ANC councillor Pat Januarie interrupted the department’s Mtsweni as the meeting began. “What’s the point of this meeting when there are hardly any farm- workers here?” he asked.

One farmworker present was Monwabisi Kondile, a Food and Allied Workers Union member employed at the Keurboschkloof table grape farm outside De Doorns.

“Farmworkers are still very angry. We will strike on December 4 (if the farmers remained unmoved). But I don’t think that people will burn vineyards like they did before. I hope not, because it is in those vineyards that we need to work,” Kondile said.

A Fawu meeting is scheduled to take place in De Doorns tomorrow.

daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za
-Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za


March to Rebone Furniture factory
Cosatu 23 November 2012

COSATU North West will be marching to Rebone Furniture factory in Mogwase to demand the reinstatement of the workers that the employer claims to have dismissed after they embarked on a strike demanding better working conditions in their work place. The march will be on 23 November 2012 at 10h00 in Mogwase.

The company is operating with labour brokers, called Workforce, which is continuing to exploitation workers. We are calling all workers who are employed under the workforce to leave the company before Friday as workers who are dismissed will be demanding their work back unconditionally.
We call the media to expose this brutal exploitation of the poor workers,
For more information feel free to contact Solly Phetoe, COSATU North West Provincial Secretary, at 082 304 4055


Two workers killed in fresh S. Africa mine violence
Alexander Joe 23 November 2012

Two mineworkers were killed Thursday during fresh clashes between members of rival labour unions outside South Africa's Harmony Gold mine, police said.

"One man was shot dead another one was hacked during a fight between workers," police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said.

The incident occured at the mines's Kusasalethu shaft, south of Johannesburg, where workers returned to work late August, following weeks of a violent illegal strike over wages.

"We don't have any information on what caused the violence, but we have learnt that fighting was between union members," said Mogale, adding that one person was admitted to hospital.

According Lesiba Seshoka, the spokesman for the National Union of Mines (NUM), clashes broke out between their members and workers from the smaller union formation, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Seshoka told AFP that AMCU, which is not recognised by the mine had been refused permission to hold a meeting.

"Apparently they went to a hill and came back to our offices and started shooting," said Seshoka.

The situation at South Africa's mines was beginning to return to normal, after the industry was crippled by deadly wildcats strikes that left over 50 people dead.

On August 16, 34 striking Lonmin Platinum mineworkers were killed by police during a protest, in an act that shocked the country and the world.
za.news.yahoo.com


Cops, squatters clash as shacks torn down
IOL News 22 November 2012

Pretoria - Tear gas, rubber bullets, stones and the sound of hammers meeting corrugated iron were just some of details of the dramatic scenes witnessed in Soshanguve on Tuesday as illegal squatters went toe to toe with police and demolishers.

Insults were hurled as structures were torn down in Soshanguve’s Extension 6, with owners watching helplessly. The squatters had erected their structures on land where the government is building RDP houses.

They alleged that they were made to pay for the land and told that they would be given RDP houses once the construction was completed.

Thabo Mogale, a squatter, said he had been waiting for an RDP house since 1997, but nothing had happened. People from outlying areas have been given houses.

Mogale said the reason he decided to squat was because the government seemed to give squatters houses more quickly than those on waiting lists.

“The municipality does not go according to the lists it compiles. So we thought maybe if we place ourselves here they will move us into RDP houses. RDP houses are being constructed here and we don’t know who they are going to be given to.”

Things turned ugly in the late afternoon when SAPS and metro police officers arrived with a private security company to remove the dwellings.

People ran in all directions as Nyalas and the police, firing rubber bullets, made their way through the area.

Squatters said they did not understand why their structures were being demolished as they had paid for the land.

A woman, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said she had paid R16 000 for a piece of land.

“On Saturday a man told us to give him money before we could get land. We did, but on Wednesday our structures are being demolished and he is nowhere to be seen,” she said.

Another woman, who also asked not to be named, said she felt like she was still living under apartheid with government officials getting all the perks while voters and ordinary people were not being cared for.

She lashed out at President Jacob Zuma and the ANC, saying they did not care about their voters.

“I live in a small RDP house with my children,” she said.

“We are just trying to get our children land where they can build their houses, but they are demolishing our shacks. They can’t keep doing this to us. We are just trying to survive and better ourselves.

“They expect us to vote for them while they do this to us? Zuma is expanding his house in Nkandla with taxpayers’ money to accommodate his large family, but when we try to do the same they demolish our structures.”

Another woman returned from work to find demolishers ripping apart her neighbour’s shack.

She tried to save her shack, but her efforts were in vain. The teams arrived and within five minutes her shack had been razed.

She angrily hurled insults at the men.

“What gives you the right to destroy our structures which we bought with our hard-earned cash?

“We work for our own money and don’t depend on people’s taxes like you.

“Your day will come when the tables will be turned against you.” Efforts to get comment from the police were fruitless.
karabo.seanego@inl.co.za
Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za


GOODYEAR STRIKE RESOLVE! WORKERS BACK AT WORK
Numsas 22 November 2012

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has reached a settlement agreement with Goodyear, after workers went on strike demanding a Relief Allowance.
The workers went a protected strike on 23 October 2012, after the company infuriated workers by unilaterally taking a decision not to remunerate workers in the form of a Relief Allowance when placed on staggered break.
The Relief Allowance is paid when workers take their breaks at different times in order for production not to stop. The allowance is to compensate workers for the same. The payment is calculated using a formula that was developed in 1994 and it is dependent on a worker’s rate of pay. The amount equates to 25% of a worker’s weekly/monthly wage.

During the past weekend a series of engagements took place with Goodyear management in order to solicit a settlement offer to end the strike action. The engagements were tense and characterised by apartheid era arrogance and stubbornness to concede to workers legitimate demands amidst worsening socio-economic crisis of poverty and escalating cost of living in our country.

We are pleased that these engagements have borne fruit and we have finally reached a settlement agreement informed by unity in action and successfully pushed Goodyear to give workers the Relief Allowance as demanded by us.

This strike has been a lucid test to the strength and power of the union amidst fierce onslaught by capitalist bosses to undermine workers’ right to bargain and defending their hard won right to strike. Through our action, we have scored a major victory for the workers. All the workers previously not paid their Relief Allowance between June 2012 and October 2012, will be back-paid immediately. This is going to be a good Xmas present to this under-paid and exploited workers!

Our long strike has been a great success, despite stinking denials by Goodyear claiming that production has not been affected.

The Goodyear ruling oligarchy felt the impact of the strike, even though they unsuccessfully coerced our members to return to work.

Already the acceptance of the settlement offer has been communicated to the employer and our members started reporting for duty as from this morning.

Contact:
Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson - +2783 627 5197


COSATU calls on police to arrest right wing vigilantes in agriculture in Western Cape
COSATU PRESS STATEMENT 21 November 2012

COSATU has reports that many of the bakkie loads of boere riding around in farming areas are assaulting and killing farm workers are not registered with the securities industry. It is from a bakkie like this that a farm worker was shot in the Ceres area.

We call on the police to arrest these vigilantes and check there compliance with the security industry. They are also not entitled to be shooting at farm workers with rubber bullets and the police should charge them and confiscate these firearms.

These continued assaults and right wing behaviour is contributing to a climate, which will spill over into a full scale civil war. The National Minister of Police must urgently intervene in the matter as the Provincial MEC for safety is defending the farmers, and sees no need to even mention the shooting of a farm worker by these right-wingers.

For questions please call COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, at 082 7733194


NUM marches to Gold One
NUM 20 November 2012

Thousands of mineworkers organised under the banner of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will this afternoon march at Randfontein Gold One branch operations to deliver a memorandum of demands to the company. The mineworkers demand amongst others that Gold One should remain a member of the Chamber of Mines and should adhere, abide by and implement the collective agreement reached at the Chamber of Mines a few weeks ago. "We further demand that the company should stop retrenchments, discuss with us a model for Employee Share Ownership Programme (ESOP) and ensure that our members who are transferred to Cooke 4 are given a lateral tranfer so as not to lose out on benefits and pay" says Wilson Metsing, the NUM 's Branch Secretary at the mine.Workers will gather at Cooke 3 at 15h00 and march to deliver a memorandum at the mine at 16H00.

Wilson Metsing- (NUM Branch Secretary)- 082 935 6237

Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719


Eastern Cape paramedics on strike
News 24 20 November 2012

Johannesburg - Paramedics in the Eastern Cape have gone on strike, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

Their demands included payment of overtime and a performance management system, spokesperson Siyanda Manana said.

"[Health] MEC Sicelo Gqobana has appointed a task team to look in to the payment problems within the department."

Manana said private ambulance services would be asked to help during the strike. On Monday, the department received 60 more ambulances.
www.news24.com


Strike will resume if workers' demands are not met
16 Nov 2012 00:00 - Aneesa Fazel

Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson and farm workers' organisations have agreed to suspend the workers' strike for two weeks.

The ­minimum wage for farm ­workers labouring for nine hours a day is R69.39, but farmers who can afford to can pay more. (David Harrison, M&G)

Cosatu Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said that the department of labour would review the national minimum wage of farm workers during this time and in the interim a minimum wage of R80 would be implemented.

But if the government did not accept the workers' demands of R150 a day, the strike would continue on December 4.

He added that "no disciplinary action or victimisation will be taken against workers who participated in the strike".

The Employment Conditions Commission has been asked to assist in determining a new minimum wage for the sector.

Its acting director for employment standards, Titus Mtsweni, said that decisions taken to determine the minimum wage for the farming sector involved a long process of research and investigations.

Affordability
"Prior to coming up with a minimum wage, the commission engages with all the relevant stakeholders in determining the wage.

"The law provides criteria, such as affordability for employers, poverty alleviation, cost of living and other factors that must be taken into consideration."

The sectoral determination for farm work in South Africa provides details of the current minimum wages for employees. For the period March 1 2012 to February 28 2013, the minimum hourly rate is R7.71. The maximum working hours a day is nine hours, totalling about R69.39 as the minimum wage a day for farm workers.

Mtsweni said the amount was a minimum and did not mean that farmers who were capable of paying their workers more should not do so.

Minimum wage
"There are farm workers who have been working for over 10 or 20 years. It would make sense to think that someone working for so long would get a better wage."

He said the minimum wage applied to all farms.

"The reason why we do not look at certain farms that could possibly be bringing in high profits is because the law does not require us to do that.

"We cannot guarantee that these farms will always make a profit, hence we set a minimum wage for all farms - small, medium and large."

South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union negotiator Jane Barrett, who represented organised labour at the commission before the R70 minimum wage was decided, said the commission had only advisory powers and that the final decision regarding the minimum wage rested with the minister of labour
mg.co.za

MAPPING THE PATH OF SLAVE WAGES

Trust for Community Outreach and Education

The Google Map shows us the locations of the farm worker uprisings in the Western Cape, South Africa. This is the first time that farm workers have gone on strike in democratic South Africa. As illustrated one can see the route along which protests have happened as uprisings against slave wages have spread.

Timeline of Events (taken from various news reports)

Monday, 5 November 2012: 8000 Farm workers in De Doorns in the Hex River Valley down tools. Vineyards are set alight. They also block the N1 highway at De Doorns near Worcester. Their demand is a raise in salary from R70 to R150 per day.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012: News reports state that 30 hectares of vineyards were burnt and five people arrested, later reports state that seven people were arrested. Police continue to patrol the area and rubber bullets are used against the protesters. The CCMA enter the issue to try and negotiate a wage deal. One farm owner is arrested for attempted murder after firing shots at protesters in the street.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012: Western Cape Agriculture officials try to intimate that a third force is at play. This is nipped in the bud by civil society/NGOs and it is found that there is no third force. CCMA negotiations continue.

Thursday, 8 November 2012: More vineyards are torched as Wednesday talks offer no way forward. The N1 highway is closed and motorists are urged to use alternative routes. Media reports state that there are high rates of absenteeism at schools in the area. Reports also state that protest action has spread to the Boland and Wellington. Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, is chased out of De Doorns as she tries to speak to the workers, the crowd proceed to hurl stones at her and she is escorted to a nyala.

Friday, 9 November 2012: Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, denies being chased out of De Doorns. Zille states that the situation is being politicised. The CCMA continue to negotiate.

Saturday, 10 November 2012: Media reports state that many De Doorns farmers and their families have fled due to unrest. Senior government officials are expected to meet to discuss resolutions.

Monday, 12 November 2012: It is made official that negotiations have deadlocked. Farm workers from other areas express preparedness to down tools in solidarity with De Doorns. There is a call for rolling mass action in solidarity with De Doorns. Police continue to patrol the area. 10 People are arrested amid continued unrest. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Petterson, holds a meeting in Pretoria to discuss the unrest. There are reports of protests in Ceres.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012: Farm worker uprising spreads to surrounding districts. Farm workers in Robertson block the main roads to stop labour brokers from entering the districts. Police respond by blocking roads to Robertson and De Doorns where more vineyards burn. Police presence is heavy as well as the presence of helicopters. Union leaders and leadership from the various organisations meet at Klein Plasie where the Minister of Agriculture and fisheries, Tina Joemat-Petterson, assures them that the government is behind the call of workers to receive a decent living wage. Ceres farm workers start burning store houses. Protests spread to Touwsrivier. At this stage protest action has spread to many areas of the Western Cape wine region. Farm workers in solidarity with De Doorns are as far afield as Tzaneen in Limpopo. Workers reject an offer of R80 per day.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012: “Black Wednesday” – Farm workers in De Doorns continue to burn vineyards as wage demands remain unmet. Ceres workers start to burn fruit crates. Minister Joemat-Petterson tells media that the strikers must not be prosecuted, stating that “No case must be brought against a single worker. Each and every criminal case or charge that was laid against a farm worker must be withdrawn.” Meanwhile, Premier Helen Zille calls for the army to be deployed to the Hex River valley as police are too few. Violence flares up in Wolseley leaving one farm worker, 28 year old Michael Daniels, dead at the hands of police. Police open fire in Nkqubela, Robertson. They shoot from helicopters as well. The day ends with one dead and 10 arrested in the Robertson area. Unions and government call a ceasefire, but message not communicated properly to workers.
www.tcoe.org.za


Amplats workers hold rally
IOL News 17 November 2012

Rustenburg - Some Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers held a rally in Rustenburg on Saturday, the national strike committee said.

“The rally was peaceful,” said Gaddafi Ndoda, spokesman for the striking mineworker committee.

The purpose of the rally was to brief workers about recent developments with regard to wage talks.

On Thursday workers at Amplats' Rustenburg and Pilanesberg north mines returned to work for induction after an eight week strike.

On Wednesday, workers agreed to a R4500 once-off payment and a pre-tax, stand-alone allowance of R600 a month, according to the National Union of Mineworkers.

Ndoda said that while the offer had been accepted, workers were hoping that renewed negotiations would bring the offer closer to their demands.

Workers initially wanted salaries of R12,500 per month.

The probable timeframe for the negotiations would be decided at a meeting on Tuesday, he said.

Amplats said it would open next year's salary negotiations early, but any agreement would only apply from July.

It fired 12,000 strikers from its Rustenburg operation, but said it would take them back on condition they arrived for work by certain dates.

Amplats lost R3.4 billion in revenue when production ground to a halt in mid-September. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Police monitor farm protests
SAPA 17 November 2012

Police would continue to monitor areas of the Western Cape which had been affected by the protests of striking farmworkers, provincial police said on Saturday.

“From the police's side, everything is quiet this morning,” Lt-Col Andrè Traut said.

On Friday, protesters looted shops and torched businesses in the Hex River Valley and roads in the province, including the N2, were blockaded with rocks and burning tyres.

The Mawubuye Land Rights Forum said in a statement on Saturday that it supported the striking farmworkers in their demands.

“These protests are spontaneous and organised by the workers themselves, and are an indicator of the abject poverty that farm workers and their communities experience.”

Protests over wages in the province spread across the Boland, with table grape harvesters demanding to be paid R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day.

Even among workers at the same farm, there were often pay disparities, with women were paid less than their male counterparts, even though they do the same work, Mawubuye claimed.

“Living conditions on many farms are sub-human, and we need to dispel the myth that farmers provide free electricity and offer pay for transport themselves.”

The labour department met with various farmers' unions on Friday and negotiations are set to start next Thursday.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration would mediate the talks.

The department on Friday called for interested parties to comment on a possible review of the sectoral determination for farmworkers, which prescribes minimum wages and conditions of employment.

About 300 farmworkers who went on strike in Wolseley in the Western Cape returned to work on Friday, according to the SA National Civic Organisation.

Provincial general secretary Vusi Myeki said the workers agreed to suspend the strike for at least two weeks pending a decision on the farmworkers' minimum wage. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


We can’t cope, top cop confesses
Henriette Geldenhuys and Sapa 17 November 2012

Pretoria - As beleaguered Cape fruit farmers brought in helicopters and private security to guard their crops from sabotage by strikers, the country’s top cop said the police were buckling under the strain of dealing with protests.

“The country is experiencing very challenging circumstances in policing,” national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega warned yesterday.

She was speaking at an SA Police Union (Sapu) central executive committee meeting held in Pretoria.

Her comments come when the reputation of the police has been badly damaged by claims before the Farlam Commission of inquiry into the shooting of striking miners at Marikana, of officers planting weapons on the dead and tampering with evidence.

“Police hands are full... our hands are full. We have our purpose to continue to ensure that South Africans feel they are safe. At the same time, there are a lot of... incidents that are erupting all over...”

Phiyega said police were facing a flood of public disorder incidents, caused by services not being delivered to people and communities across the country.

Books and services were not delivered and “we have no control over these variables”, she told the meeting.

“But when people get angry and when disruptions take place, the people who are expected to bring calmness, the people who are expected to bring law and order, are us,” Phiyega said.

This week the police have been on the front line of strikes and protests at Lenasia in Gauteng, where illegally built homes were bulldozed by authorities, in the mining belt around Rustenburg, and in the Western Cape where farming areas crackled with tension after vineyards were torched and houses vandalised.

In De Doorns, one of the worst-hit areas, farmers have pooled resources to fund private security guards, some from as far as Joburg, to patrol day and night in the air and on the ground around their properties to safeguard 4 500ha of prime table grape vineyards in the area.

The fight to prevent their own and their workers’ homes being torched or vandalised by strikers running amok also included two private helicopters, rented to waterbomb fires , and keep to an eye on hotspots from the air, alerting security teams on the ground.

The response to violent strikes from farmers within a 40km radius emerged this week, with farmers saying they had gone so far as to hire private investigators to compile arson dockets against people suspected of burning down vineyards and properties.

The farmers are also trying to help workers who have pleaded for their help after some of their homes were vandalised, and others were beaten for not joining the strikes.

Some farmers and their workers are also being guarded 24 hours a day as the strike by farmworkers, demanding more than double their current wages, gathers force in spite of a Cosatu call to suspend it.

The workers are demanding an R81 a day wage hike, from their current R69 to R150.

Farmers and their families said they got little sleep as they kept guard throughout the night, dousing flames wherever fires were set.

Several spoke of how alone and threatened they felt when the violence first broke out. They said they watched law enforcement officers take up positions in front of the marchers, while those marching behind were setting their vineyards alight.

One told of how he and his wife watched angry workers march towards the entrance to their farm, off the N1 highway.

“A group of police officers escorted the march while marching strikers set grasslands next to our vineyards alight,” the farmer said.

The couple rushed down to the entrance to try to extinguish the flames, and prevent the fire spreading through their vineyards.

“But police chased us away, shouting warnings that we could get hurt,” he said, adding that they ignored the police to save their farm.

In the Western Cape, one person has died and several have been injured in farmworker protests over wages and living conditions.

Violent protests started in and around farms in the De Doorns area and the protests had spread to 15 other towns by Wednesday.
www.iol.co.za


Residents threaten Vaal SPCA
IOL News 14 November 2012

Johannesburg - Members of the SPCA in Vereeniging were threatened by a group of residents from Tshepiso, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday after confiscating several dogs.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said in a statement it had a warrant from the Vereeniging Magistrate's Court to take the animals.

SPCA inspectors were threatened by about 30 residents. Police were sent to help them.

“Five Greyhound dogs were confiscated after they were found to live in poor living conditions. The dogs had multiple injuries and were confined in a very small cage,” the SPCA said.

“Remains of a guinea fowl was also found on the property. It is alleged that the dogs were being used for illegal hunting.”

On Wednesday morning, an inspector tried to issue a warning to one of the residents, but the resident grabbed the warning book and tore it up.

“The owner of the dogs was violent and deliberately obstructed our inspectors... (in) perform(ing) their duties,” Vereeniging SPCA manager Marlien Pieterse said.

A case of animal cruelty and obstruction would be opened against the owner in terms of the Animals Protection Act. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Officials heckled at e-toll hearing
IOL News 16 November 2012

Hundreds of people turned out for the public hearing on e-tolling in Sunninghill, Sandton, on Thursday night. Picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg -

There was yelling and finger-pointing in Sunninghill on Thursday night as officials of the SA Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the National Treasury tried to justify e-tolls.

The officials were drowned out at the public meeting on the e-toll system and programme director James Mlawu had to intervene and try to calm down the crowd.

Marissa Moore of the Treasury had to be rescued by the programme director as she was heckled by the crowds.

Moore told the crowds that traffic congestion was costing Gauteng R7 billion a year. It was also claiming lives, she said.

But the crowd yelled and told the officials they were not going to pay for e-tolls.

“This is daylight robbery. We are going to close these roads. We hope you are going to listen,” someone said.

Every response by officials, including

Sanral’s Alex van Niekerk, was met with anger.

A businessman, Brett Holley, was among 300 people who attended the public session that started in Kempton Park on Tuesday.

An angry Holley yelled: “This government does not listen. Government listens to violence.”

He warned that the gantries would be burnt.

Department of Transport spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said they believed the exercise was necessary. “Members of the public were given this platform to engage with government. They were allowed to raise their views. We are going to take their views on board.”

He added that their views would be submitted to Minister of Transport Ben Martins.

Rikhotso said this was the last public information session.

On October 26, the government and Sanral announced new tariffs for the proposed e-tolling.

This marked the beginning of a 30-day public consultation process, after which Martins would have a fortnight to “apply his mind”, followed by another fortnight to gazette the final tariffs. This means e-tolls could come into effect four days before Christmas.

The government has already contributed R5.75bn to the project, or 25 percent of the total debt owed by Sanral.

In August, the cabinet approved reduced toll tariffs for the N1 highway between Joburg and Pretoria.

Motorcyclists were expected to pay 24c/km, light motor vehicles 40c, medium vehicles R1 and “heavier” vehicles R2/km. Taxis and buses have been exempted.

Cosatu has called on all those affected by e-tolling in Gauteng to attend the public meetings.
www.iol.co.za


Lenasia: Residents get 9-day reprieve
IOL News 16 November 2012

The rubble that used to be a house in Lenasia. It was demolished for being on municipal land sold illegally. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Lenasia residents have a nine-day reprieve from demolitions. On Thursday the Johannesburg High Court gave the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) until next Friday to lodge its report on its findings conducted in Lenasia Extension 13, where about 50 unoccupied houses have been demolished.

The commission is not challenging the court order for demolition that was granted in September last year, but the manner in which the demolitions are being conducted. It is claiming that human rights are being violated.

However, the lawyer for the Gauteng Housing Department, advocate Modise Khoza, told Judge Phineas Mojapelo that the commission was “wasting time” because it had no chance of influencing the court order.

“As far as violating human rights, it is like a prisoner and his family complaining that their rights are being violated when he is sent to jail.

“These people’s homes are being demolished as a consequence of their actions - they brought it on themselves. No human rights are being violated as the houses demolished were not occupied. An investigation will not overturn this,” he said.

Khoza asked why the commission had not intervened earlier when the eviction order was sought by the Gauteng government.

He gave the judge the housing department’s undertaking that no demolitions would take place until after the hearing next Friday.

The Housing Department has slammed media reports that people have been left homeless by the demolitions. It said the first phase of the operation targeted all the unoccupied properties, as well as vacant stands with perimeter walls for demolitions.

“On the day of the operation, our officials, working on site with the police, also ensured that all the properties were not occupied before the demolitions were carried out. We are satisfied that the demolitions were as humane as possible by making sure that families were not directly affected by the operation,” said the MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe.

The department has issued notices to all the occupied houses and demolitions are planned in the second phase.


The department has indicated there is no need to provide alternative shelter as the properties are not occupied.


Mekgwe said her department was engaging civic organisations, NGOs, religious movements, political parties and other interested parties and would remain open to all the recommendations brought forward
www.iol.co.za


40 held after violent protests in Swellendam
Warda Meyer 16 November 2012

Cape Town - Forty Swellendam residents have been arrested on public violence charges as running battles between the community and the police continued on Friday.

By midday, shops in the centre of the town were closing in anticipation of an invasion by residents of Railton on the opposite side of the N2 highway.

Long queues were forming at supermarkets as residents stockpiled supplies.

Railton residents were reacting to a Western Cape High Court decision granting the DA interim relief to take back the local municipality following a hostile take-over by the ANC and the ACDP last month.

The protesters are demanding the reinstatement of an acting municipal manager who has been suspended in the wake of the latest political developments.

A police spokesman confirmed that nine residents had been injured and three police vehicles damaged in the protests, which started on Wednesday.

Late on Thursday night protesters threw burning tyres on to the N2 highway, barricaded roads with rocks and looted shops belonging to foreign nationals.

A liquor store in Railton was set alight as tensions flared in the Overberg town.

On Thursday night, and again on Friday morning, Railton residents and police were engaged in running battles, the former stoning policemen and the latter responding with rubber bullet fire.

Late on Thursday night police in riot gear held back a 1 000-strong crowd, determined to cross the N2 to reach the town’s main business district.

A three-hour stand-off ensued during which a policeman was wounded in the face as the angry mob pelted officers with stones.

Heavily armed police responded with rubber bullets and angry protesters scattered.

Armed with stones and sticks, small pockets of protesters tried moving forward but were forced to retreat as police stormed into the township.

By midnight the Western Cape ANC provincial deputy secretary, Maurencia Gillion, was urging residents to return to their homes and to refrain from any criminal activity.

She said negotiations were taking place with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Richard Baloyi, to get him to lead talks with community, church and traditional leaders as well councillors of the embattled municipality.

Railton community leader Mcgegan Anthony said the community had vowed to continue the protest action until ANC-appointed acting municipal manager Mervyn Steenkamp was reinstated and the municipality was back in the hands of the ANC.
www.iol.co.za


26 held over De Doorns strike
IOL News 16 November 2012

Some farmworkers, unaware that the strike had been suspended, continued protesting in Wolseley. Picture: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - Police have arrested at least 26 people in De Doorns on Friday for blocking roads and trying to prevent farmworkers from going to work, said Jesaja Louw, leader of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) in the town.

Police are still processing suspects, and would be unable to comment until later on Friday, said spokeswoman Constable Lybey Swartz.

There were more violent clashes between police and strikers last night, said De Doorns resident and activist Owen Maromo.

Cosatu’s message that farmworkers should return to work has become a bloody fault line between strikers.

The labour federation issued a statement on Wednesday that the strike would be suspended for two weeks - the time deemed necessary for Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant to review the minimum wage.

Fawu says its members in the Hex Valley have refused to return to work.

“We don’t want to contradict Cosatu, but we have to respect the wishes of our members. They want a wage offer on the table, until then the strike is on,” said Fawu president Attwell Nazo.

Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich, however, remains adamant that the strike is suspended. He said it was a strategic decision, because some people in De Doorns had run out of money.

Farmworker Rosemarie Filander said farmers “will laugh at us if we return to work, they’ll throw it back in our faces… People have gone hungry for two weeks, they will go hungry for another two.”

Hunger has become a serious concern for many strikers, who have not been paid for two weeks. Many workers who have heeded Cosatu’s call to return to work have been assaulted by diehard strikers. Crime and violence - looting, vandalism and arson - continue to accompany the strike.

“What we need now is communication, unity and consensus among the people. It would be a tragedy if the strike rips into two,” said Louw.

He admitted the unions’ communication to strikers about the interim agreement had been inadequate.

Road closures in the Boland due to strike action include the N1 at De Doorns, the R46 outside Ceres and the road between Villiersdorp and Grabouw, said provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa.
www.iol.co.za

Farmworkers stuck in limbo
Daneel Knoetze 16 November 2012

Cape Town - Cosatu’s message that farmworkers should return to work has become a bloody fault line between strikers.

Cosatu issued a statement on Wednesday that the strike would temporarily be suspended for two weeks - the time deemed necessary for Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant to review the minimum wage for farmworkers.

“The farmers will laugh at us if we return to work, they’ll throw it back in our faces. People have gone hungry for two weeks, they will go hungry for another two,” said Rosemarie Filander, a farmworker and member of the Hex Valley Community Interest Group.

Hunger has become a serious concern for many strikers, who also have not been paid for two weeks.

Many workers who have heeded Cosatu’s call to return to work have been severely assaulted with machetes by diehard strikers.

Criminal and violent elements - looting, vandalism and arson - still accompany the strike.

“What we need now is communication, unity and consensus among the people. It would be a tragedy if the strike rips into two,” said Jesaja Louw, leader of the Food Allied and Workers Union in the region.

Louw admitted that the various unions’ communication to strikers about the two-week interim agreement had been inadequate.

“There is a lot of confusion right now. Many opinions and versions of what should happen next are flying about,” said Louw.

Adding to the woes of De Doorns residents is that the local clinic has been closed for the last two weeks because of the strike. Chronically ill patients were prevented from accessing life-saving medications, said Joanne Otto, Cape Winelands Health spokeswoman.
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za


De Doorns ‘quiet’ after days of protests
IOL News 15 November 2012

De Doorns, Western Cape - The situation was quiet in De Doorns on Thursday, following days of protests by farmworkers, said Western Cape police.

“I haven't heard reports of anything happening this evening,” said Lt-Col Andre Traut.

Earlier, about 400 farmworkers marched to the Wolseley municipal offices to meet community leaders and the police following unrest over wages.

The march came after a call by the government and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday to suspend the strike for two weeks pending a review of a bargaining council agreement.

Workers agreed to suspend the strike on condition that the sectoral determination for agriculture be looked at by the Employment Condition Commission next Wednesday.

Protests about wages and living conditions started in De Doorns last week and had spread to 15 other towns in the Western Cape by Wednesday.

The protests started with Table grape harvesters, who were calling for wages of R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day.

The main road in Wolseley, Voortrekker Street, was the scene of violent protests on Wednesday.

A stand-off between police and protesters resulted in the death of 28-year-old tractor driver Michael Daniels.

The Cape Times reported that Daniels had been walking past protesters to get to the shops.

Farmworker Deon Conradie told the newspaper a senior police officer gave the order for officers to open fire.

“She said 'skiet die goed vrek' (shoot the things dead). We got frustrated with police and some protesters threw stones and swore at them,” Conradie said.

He said the crowd ran when shots were fired.

An unnamed Wolseley resident said the police had warned protesters about firing live ammunition, and that protesters had initially tried to negotiate with the police.

A second group of protesters had come from another direction and started throwing stones at the police, who responded by firing rubber bullets.

“They turned a police vehicle on its side. A farmer came down over the bridge with his pick-up truck. The same guys started throwing stones at the bakkie,” the resident said.

“The 82-year-old man (the farmer), Tienie Crous, was hit in the head and arms. He's in Ceres hospital in a stable condition.”

A local resident helped the elderly man from his car and got him away from the crowds.

“After a while, a policeman told a resident to tell the protesters that they must please just move back and stop throwing stones because they don't have rubber bullets.”

The group retaliated by throwing stones. Police fired a few shots to protect themselves, he said.

Municipal officials earlier this week put the damage caused by protesting workers at over R500 000. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Farmworkers demand action after man killed
IOL News 15 November 2012

Cape Town - Striking farmworkers defied a government call to return to work Thursday, with labourers demanding action against a police captain over the death of one of their colleagues during clashes.

Workers in the Western Cape town of Wolseley - earlier the scene of deadly violence -marched through the town early on Thursday, chanting and singing, despite government announcements that the strike had been suspended.

The government and Cosatu had earlier announced that workers would freeze the strike for two weeks while the sector's R70 minimum wage is reviewed.

But protesters have insisted they will not return to the fruit-growing region's farms until they receive a daily wage of at least R150.

“It's not over for us. We are continuing no matter what. We are going forward no matter what,” said 19-year-old seasonal fruit farm worker Mandla Betshe.

“It's just a wish for them (for it) to be over.”

“The strike is not finished,” insisted Pieter Opperman, 38, who earns R80 a day

“If we get that settlement of R150, I will go back to work with all my heart. Because then I know I can put food on the table for my family and I can sort myself out.”

The scene early Thursday was tense, with a heavy police presence.

A worker delegation handed a list of demands to police including the suspension of the local police captain, after 28-year-old Michael Daniels was killed in clashes.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) had opened an investigation into the matter.

“The most important thing is... who gave the order to shoot. Obviously someone has to take a responsibility,” said Lamie Mqungquthu, part of the worker delegation.

“Our aim today is to make peace with the police, they must leave the people because all of us have a right” to protest, he said.

Police described the situation as “volatile,” with disturbances in the towns of De Doorns, Ceres and Swellendam.

“Police officers are deployed at all affected areas to maintain law and order, and to protect the public,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut of the Western Cape police.

Cosatu said on Thursday that it would take a bit more time to inform all farmworkers to suspend their strike.

"We have in many towns deployed our organisers and those of other organisations to go report back and speak to workers," organiser Mike Louw said.

"Unfortunately sporadic pockets of protests are still happening, and the behaviour and actions of police have exacerbated the situation.

"Our attempt really is to gather information now and deploy people further to go back and inform people. We are calling on farmers to be lenient and allow workers to return, even though they may return late." - Sapa, AFP
www.iol.co.za


Farmworker gunned down
Daneel Knoetze, Murray Williams, Lynnette Johns November 15 2012

Cape Town - A morning of violent clashes with protesters in Wolseley climaxed with police opening fire on a group of strikers on Wednesday.

Twenty-eight-year old Michael Daniels was shot in the back as he turned to flee an approaching police line.

Late on Wednesday, thousands of empty wooden crates stacked 10m high were burning in the town as protesters vented their fury.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut confirmed Daniel’s death, but refused to comment on whether live rounds were used.

According to witnesses, two officers had apparently fired warning shots into the ground with their service pistols.

The Cape Argus spoke to Edwin van Wyk, who was standing next to Daniels when he was shot.


Wolseley residents try to put out a fire on a main road in the area on Wednesday. Empty wooden crates were set alight allegedly by protesting farmworkers. Picture: Henk Kruger

CAPE ARGUS
“He was immediately unconscious. I called him twice and then lifted his shirt to see where the blood was coming from.

He was not bleeding too much but he was limp and foaming at the mouth. He was dead,” Van Wyk said.

Van Wyk begged police to call an ambulance and to attend to Daniels.

Police negotiated with protesters to stop throwing rocks and drove a police van to where Daniels lay.

Van Wyk lifted his body into the van and four other people with injuries were also helped.

One of the injured men, Jonathan Malgas, said they had to look at Daniels’ body in the van.

“It was awful. He was ice-cold. His face wasn’t covered. We had to sit there and look at him,” he said.



Jo-Anne Otto, principle communication officer for Cape Winelands Health, could not confirm how Daniels died, saying that he was dead on arrival.



Daniels’ mother, Magdalena Daniels, who lives in Pine Valley, said her son had been on his way to work on Wednesday morning when the protests in Wolseley started.

Daniels was a worker on a fruit farm and the only breadwinner in the household, she said. He had earned R350 a week.

Outside the police station, a crowd gathered, baying for the blood of the officers who had opened fire.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato met community leaders and later addressed the crowd.

Plato expressed his condolences to the family and said that the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (Ipid) would take over the investigation.

Skirmishes between police and protesters went on throughout the day.

In Ceres, farmers blocked the only entrance into the town from Cape Town with piles of rubble, stones and sand on Wednesday.

Kanonkop farmer Hennie du Preez, one of about 10 involved in blocking the R46 about 25km outside of Ceres, said they wanted to protect Breede Valley farms from protesters.

Du Preez said the farmers blocked to road to prevent any problems near their farms.



Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley have been protesting for over a week about their wages, demanding R150 a day.

Most earn between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers so far.

Agri SA labour policy commission chairman Anton Rabe said a minimum wage of R70 a day would look bad to the uninformed, but there were other aspects that affected this figure.

Many farmers were supplying workers with transport, accommodation and training.

He said close to 40 percent provided after-school services and 23 percent provided medical facilities on site.

The government on Wednesday activated the Provincial Disaster Management Centre to deal with the wide-scale protests in the agricultural sector. The centre, at Tygerberg Hospital, co-ordinates emergency services across the province in times of crisis.

On Wednesday, Premier Helen Zille said the centre received reports in real time where fires were burning and roads were closed, which guided them on how best to deploy resources.



Emergency services are stretched to capacity and Zille has called on President Jacob Zuma to send in the army to protect lives and property.

Jacky Pandaran, director of operations at the centre, said 12 regions had been affected across the province.

Shortly before 7pm on Wednesday night, provincial police spokesman Traut said : “Things seem to be calming down as we approach sunset. But we are still monitoring a number of places very closely, including Wolseley, Ceres and Robertson, which are of concern.”

At the time of going to press last night, no active protest actions were reported by police.

Traut said various incidents that took place on Wednesday were being investigated, including the attack on the police vehicle at Wolseley.

He said this was being investigated “at a high level”, but he was not authorised to comment further on the matter.

“We cannot allow our members to come under attack,” Traut said.
www.iol.co.za


Region on the brink of anarchy - Zille
Lynnette Johns 15 November 2012

Cape Town - The Western Cape stands on the brink of anarchy and the agricultural industry could collapse, putting thousands of jobs at risk, Premier Helen Zille said on Wednesday.

Zille convened an urgent cabinet meeting on Tuesday and activated the provincial disaster risk management centre at Tygerberg Hospital.

Eight thousand crates of grapes were set alight in Ceres and Prince Alfred Hamlet and numerous cold stores and packing houses destroyed. A number of farmers have requested protection.

An Eskom transformer had also been burnt and wheat land was burning in Nduli and Porterville.

Firefighters were battling to get to blazes as protesters barricaded roads, although six fire-fighting aircraft were being used to douse flames and to drop firefighters into affected areas.

Zille said the provincial government was doing all it could, but it did not have power over the police or the army.

She said the unrest was putting an entire industry at risk, and it would have repercussions for food security.

Provincial Commissioner Arno Lamoer had gone up to Pretoria for a briefing with national police commissioner Riya Phiyega.

Zille accused provincial ANC leader and Deputy Minister of International Relations Marius Fransman of driving the unrest.

She said he should rather now work with her in helping to defuse the situation.

Her calls to the president to send in the army had gone unanswered, she told a press briefing on Wednesday.

“It is essential that [President] Jacob Zuma call in the South African Defence Force to help the police protect lives, property and the industry to save thousands of jobs,” Zille said.

“It is strange that during a crisis of this magnitude the premier tries to get hold of the president, leaves messages and writes letters, but there is no response. There cannot be any issue more pressing than this one.”
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za


Anarchy in De Doorns
Murray Williams, Daneel Knoetze and Sapa 14 November 2012

Cape Town - War-like scenes erupted on Wednesday as violence raged in Wolseley, De Doorns and other towns in the Boland farming district as striking farmworkers clashed with police.

In Wolseley on Wednesday morning, a farmer drove into town and was attacked by a crowd of stone-throwers.

His bakkie was then overturned, and set alight, but police rescued him before he could be attacked.

A police van was also attacked and overturned.

Shopkeepers shut their businesses and parents were told to collect their children from schools.

A local farmer, who asked not to be named, said he had been phoned by the local school, with urgent instructions to fetch his children.

But this proved difficult since the main road into town, crossing a bridge, had been blocked by rioters.

“It’s chaos here,” another resident said.

Police in the area pleaded that they were too busy to give a detailed update on the situation.

One resident said about the old hotel in the town’s main road: “All the glass is broken, all the doors are broken.”

He said the crowd numbered “thousands”.

“They’re now setting the town alight. They’re burning the fields, and it’s now burning close to the houses. We’re trying to save the farms,” he said, out of breath, before hanging up. More windows were broken at a fast-food outlet in Wolseley.

On several streets, barricades of burning tyres smouldered.

A bottle store’s windows were all smashed and parts of the town resembled a ghost town.

“I saw a few faces peeping from inside shops, it looks like they are very scared,” reported Cape Argus Chief Photographer Henk Kruger.

In Elim, near De Doorns, a pensioner’s skull was fractured when he was attacked with a panga. Rocks were strewn across the N1 highway near the town and tyres were burned on the bridge which links the Stofland informal settlement to De Doorns.

In Ceres, there were reports of factories and fruit bins being set alight, as well as fires in the informal settlement of Nduli and in Prince Alfred Hamlet.

There have been rumours that a striking worker died after being shot by police on Monday, but police could not confirm this.

The growing unrest comes after Cosatu and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson on Tuesday called for calm, pending the outcome of negotiations with President Jacob Zuma to raise the national minimum wage for farm workers.

Joemat-Petterson was to meet Zuma on Wednesday at noon.

“The minister was asked by the farmworkers to intervene and to speak to the president to escalate their demands,” her spokeswoman Palesa Mokomela said.

“Joemat-Pettersson will basically act as their messenger when she hopefully meets with President Zuma on Wednesday. She will ask the government to re-determine the wages of farm workers.”

The N1 highway leading into De Doorns was closed during the violence, in which vineyards were set alight and stones thrown.

The highway was opened later this morning, with trucks passing through with fruit and other cargo. Fruit stalls and roadside shops were closed.

The remains of a burnt vineyard could be seen outside the town centre.

Food and Allied Workers’ Union president Attwell Nazo and general secretary Katishi Masemola were to address workers in Ceres and De Doorns on Wednesday afternoon. The leaders are expected to tell the crowd about the government’s response to their demands.

Jan Jonkers, a pensioner from Elim, was hospitalised after being hit by a panga.

Jonkers was apparently on his way to the local clinic, but was mistaken for someone going to work because of his backpack, said Glen Williams, who arrived on the scene shortly after the attack and assisted Jonkers.

Williams said the wound had fractured Jonkers’s skull.

Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley had been protesting for a week over their wages, demanding R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers.

Several workers had been arrested for public violence.

On Wednesday morning, Joemat-Pettersson called on the labour department to intervene in the farm workers’ strike.

“I have no capacity to advise or influence the employment conditions commission,” she told SAfm.

“That is a matter for the department of labour or the minister of labour. We have done what we could as the department of agriculture and we will continue supporting workers.”

She said she had helped “restore relationships” between striking farmworkers and farmers.

“I think we’ve [the department] acted as a facilitator to allow that these negotiations and talks stay on track... We cannot afford this sector to lose jobs... that is why we decided to participate in normalising the situation.”

“We call on all workers to stop the violence, to stop the vandalism,” the minister said on SAfm.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the Eastern Cape called for a boycott of South African wines, since people would be supporting workers’ exploitation if they continued buying South African-produced wine.

Eastern Cape ANC spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane said: “Next time people binge on wines from the Western Cape, they must know that they support exploitation of black workers,” he said.

He said farmers could afford to pay the workers what they wanted.

“The South African wine industry is making a lot of money locally and internationally; therefore, the wage demands of the workers are realistic and can be met by the employers.”

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on Wednesday wrote to Zuma, asking him to intervene in the crisis.

De Doorns municipal officials said on Tuesday that violent strike action had resulted in damage estimated at R500 000.
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za


How farm protests have spread
Daneel Knoetze and Murray Williams 14 November 2012

Protests by farm workers spread across the south-western corner of the Western Cape on Tuesday morning, erupting in a dozen towns, but with very few incidents of violence.

A crowd was dispersed with rubber bullets in Somerset West, where workers tried to barricade the entrance to Lourensford estate with a row of burning tyres.

Protesters said they were demanding a daily wage of R150 and were striking “in solidarity” with farm workers in De Doorns.

The workers could not, however, identify a leader among them and had earlier argued furiously among themselves outside the estate’s gates.

One worker said he wished agricultural unions would represent them.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said there were further reports of road closures, arson, violence and unrest from towns across the province.


On Tuesday, the Cape Argus watched a fire response vehicle speeding out of Nduli, outside Ceres. All the windows had been smashed with bricks, and sticks were sticking out of the fender.

Minutes earlier, the vehicle had driven into Nduli to respond to a fire.

“But there was no fire. As we were parked wondering what was going on a mob of people just came out of nowhere. They started stoning us, we had to flee for our lives,” said Hermie Visser of the Cape Winelands district municipality.

“Had it not been for the protection of the tinted windows we would be dead.”

The intersection where Visser found safety from the protesters pursuing him had a heavy police presence – a line of armed officers and two Caspirs.


“The R46 has been the detour when the N1 at De Doorns has been closed. Without it there is no way to Cape Town,” said an officer on the scene.

At around dawn, protesters had blocked the road. This led to violent clashes as police tried to reclaim the road.

Some 100m from the police line about 100 protesters rolled two freight containers into the road, adding to the barricade of rubble and burning tyres.

The Cape Argus asked individual strikers to state their grievances. The answer was consistent with what was reported from De Doorns last week.

“I have four children, they’re all in school. I get R300 a week – there’s no Christmas bonus, no pay for overtime. We work with chemicals and when we get sick the boss doesn’t accept our notes from the clinic. They call us liars,” said Majalefa Malangabi, 40, who works on a fruit farm.

As the Cape Argus moved back to the police line, protesters advanced despite police warnings that they should stop.

The group came to a standstill about 30m from the police line. After a tense half-hour standoff, the strikers moved forward. When they came within 10m of the intersection, protesters started jeering and gesturing at the police.

This prompted the police to open fire with stun grenades and rubber bullets. The crowd dispersed and regrouped behind the containers.

One officer was hit on the head with a rock and was taken to hospital.

On the other side of Ceres, in Prince Alfred Hamlet, similar scenes unfolded.

Tyres were burnt sporadically on the R303, one of the three main roads into the town, and police faced off with protesters at the informal settlement’s entrance, firing rubber bullets.

Farm workers in Villiersdorp also downed tools on Tuesday and vowed not to return to work until their wage demands are met.

When the Cape Argus visited the area at around 2pm, farm workers, most of them from apple farms in the area, were blocking the road with burning tyres.

They are demanding R200 a day; they are currently earning R70 a day.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has written to President Jacob Zuma asking him to require that Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant intervene in the wage dispute in De Doorns and bring together the relevant stakeholders to begin negotiations towards establishing a new minimum wage for farm workers.

“The consequences of the current crisis in the Hex River Valley will be very severe for the Western Cape and South Africa as a whole if they are not immediately addressed,” Zille said.

“I’m also calling on President Zuma to require that Cosatu enters the discussions in good faith and ends its incitement and intimidation.

“This matter can only be resolved through Minister Oliphant taking this urgent step.”
www.iol.co.za


Protesters barricade Durban's Inanda road
SABC News 13 November 2012

Police have been deployed to Inanda, north of Durban, where protestors have barricaded the road demanding low cost housing (SABC)

ProtestorsProtesters have stoned cars and set traffic lights alight in Inanda, north of Durban, demanding housing.

According to police spokesperson, Vincent Mdunge, more than 300 protestors have blockaded the main road at Inanda across Bhambiya area. The protesters are demanding the re-establishment of low cost houses in the area. Mdunge says these houses have never existed in the past there.

Residents have baricaded the road and have been stoning cars and preventing cars from entering Dube Village and Bhambayi.

Mdunge says traffic is being diverted and police are being deployed in the area. He says "the officers are monitoring the situation and currently it is "under control."
www.sabc.co.za

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