Cosatu threat: ‘Marikana has come to farms’
13 November 2012 1 Comment
Update: Nov 13 2012 16h30: – SA Police Officer seriously injured by stone-thrower in rioting – Ceres
The week-long violence at the Hex River farms in the Western Cape has just moved up a notch: A SA police-officer was injured and rushed to Ceres hospital, it was confirmed at 11h00am by a hospital spokesman. The SA Police Service confirmed that the officer was in a serious condition after he was struck on the head by a thrown stone during rioting in Ceres.
. Thus far, 650 hectares of vinyards were torched at the 3,600-hectares De Doorns grapefarms: this happened on Monday last week. Today, farmers in the Witzenberg valley at 10h00am reportedly were trapped near Ceres by a large group of black protestors closing the Geido-pass. And wheat-fields were torched in that region at 11h00. The violence continued piraling outwards from the Hex River Valley with some crops at the Du Toit Farm Group’s Ceres farms also set alight at 11h30. At Somerset West, at around noon some 80 violent protestors set up a burning road-block and demanded R250 a day minimum wages. Previous demands had been R160. By 16h40, some 5,000 people were rioting in Porterville and a small group was burning rubber tyres at a Tulbagh intersection. Local residents say they often spotted the same protestors being moved from site to site in taxis to create a false impression of a ‘rolling mass action’’ across this region.
Du Toit Farm Group had just built a day-care centre at Vastrap farm in a partnership with the Maersk Sealand shipping line’s Per Heisselberg. Today, some crops on one of the group’s Ceres farms were torched. Du Toit Group
Above: Some vines on the Du Toit group’s Ceres farm was set alight on Nov 13 by Cosatu protestors. The company had just opened a Day Care Centre at its Vastrap farm so that farm-women could leave their children there while they went to work.
Meanwhile it is reported that ”Large numbers of people are being bused in to participate in the ‘impromptu strike” – according to security officials at the scene of the illegal strike at De Doorns grape-farms in the Western Cape.
The violence spread to nearby Ceres, Robertson, Bonnievale, Ashton At 07h30 Tuesday Nov 13 the Landbouweekblad wrote that violent crowds also had to be driven away with rubber bullets at Ceres which lies above the Hex River valley and De Doorns. The grape-farming region has been plunged into week-long violence due to the incitement of the Cosatu trade union movement . http://t.co/SE6OpVCG
Above: Landbouweekblad pic shows SAPS firing rubber bullets at violent crowd in Nduli township near Ceres. Below: Boere Krisis Aksie photo of rioting at Robertson, where motorists were thrown with stones, tyre-barriers were burning on the main highway and ‘protestors weren’t even farm-workers’ local residents said. (time 09h30 Nov 13 2012)
Below: The Helivac protection team – “ “Protect” for Farmers- Powered by TSU Tactical and Helivac — was called in to try and save Hex Rivier Valley from further destruction by ‘Rolling Mass Action’ mobs organised by Cosatu trade unionists for Tuesday, November 13 2012.
Above: Afrikaner grape-farmers have sent their families out of harm’s way, tightened up their security, and also called in Helivac, a new private 23-member security task-team. This team is standing by with six K9’s and one Bell Longranger helicopter at the De Doorns farming-community, the 3,600 hectares of grape-farms (harvest time for its valuable export crop of 14million boxes is nearing). Also being protected is a historic heritage site: the area’s unique Cape-Dutch homes in the Hex River valley which are so popular amongst foreign tourists. link
Nov 13: Tuesday: “Marikana Has Come to Farms ‘ – Cosatu trade union’s Tony Ehrenreich threatens with ‘violent rolling mass action’ on all ‘white-owned’ farms countrywide:
Above: Cosatu, the co-ruling trade union movement alligned with the SA Communist Party and the African National Congress, has announced a ‘Rolling Mass Action’ campaign of all farm-workers countrywide on Tuesday, November 13 2012 in their statement: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=6684
Nov 13 2012 – Update from Afrikaans agricultural weekly Landbouweekblad : Police protects the De Doorns workers from large crowds being bused in from Worcester:
Landbouweekblad reporters Alanai Janeke and Johan van der Merwe: quoted security officials from the #Hex River Valley on Monday Nov 12 as saying that: “Large numbers of people are being bused in and driven in with taxis to participate in the ‘impromptu strike’ at #DeDoorns grapefarms,’ The SAPS shot at demonstrators on the N1 between Touwsrivier and Ceres who wanted to set up burning-tyre barricades on Monday. The police also blocked these ‘protestors’ from accessing the Stofland squatter camp just outside De Doorns.
Meanwhile a committee has been formed – comprised of the ANC’s minister of agriculture and AgriSA’s farmers’ representatives — to ‘look at the minimum wage issue’. The Landbouweekblad does not mention whether ANC Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant – who sets that minimum wage each year in the first place – would also form part of this ad-hoc committee. The Cosatu trade unionists also supported this minimum-wage set by that ANC-minister.
Left: The Federation of SA trade unions ( Fedusa ) has called for the National Labour Minister to become involved in these negotiations. Thus far the Minister has however been silent and done nothing.
Cosatu calls for ‘nationwide strike to support farm workers’
Afrikaner farmers believe the attacks against their farms form an integral part of the violence-pattern which developed all year including at Marikana platinum- and other mining operations – and that this violence forms an integral part of the ANC/SACP/Cosatu ruling alliance’s sonamed ‘Second Transition’- by which is meant the ‘Second Stage of the Communist Revolution’:
On Saturday, Cosatu trade union called on farm-workers countrywide to strike illegally in support of the arson-attacks and terrorism against these small mostly Afrikaner-owned farms.
Last week some 650 hectares of the 3,600ha vineyards in the hstoric Hex River valley were torched. Also attacked: the Somali shopkeepers in the townships and squatter camp near the town of De Doorns. The Somali refugee-families shops were looted last Monday-night by the “rolling flash mob’.
In preparation for worse to come, De Doorns farm-families meanwhile left the area temporarily while the farmers remain behind to guard the properties, with the help of the new Helivac security group,
‘Please Pray For Us: they are Burning Down Our Valley Just for a Few Rand:’
Farmers’ families have been leaving their farms since Friday-night 9 November. The crisis reached such emotional proportions amongst these families that popular Afrikaner singer/actor Steve Hofmeyr was asked to ‘pray for De Doorns: ‘they are burning down our valley just for a few Rand, the barbarians. My mom and her friends had to flee from their homes.’
Above: The grape-producing regions of South Africa produce a total of some 42-million cartons (4,5kg each) annually mostly for the export market, producing valuable foreign-exchange for the SA economy. De Doorns in the Western Cape produces some 18million cartons a year.
500 illegal strikers dismissed by WestCape farmer near Paarl:
Meanwhile the Labour Department DID intervene last Thursday, when a farmer between Paarl and Malmesbury in the Western Cape was allowed to fire 500 workers legally: the department agreed. There has thus far been no such intervention in the illegal strike at De Doorns. report
Rolling flash mob brought their tyres, whipes and matches with them:
This past week, just before dawn on Monday morning, an 8,000-strong black-male mob – locals said they were mostly Xhosas and Sothos – were dispatched to the farms in De Doorns with buses from nearby townships, even from as far away as Worcester and Ceres. Residents said this ‘rolling flash mob’ brought their tyres, whips and matches with them.
Afrikaans-speaking coloured farm workers said they were pulled from their cottages, and were intimidated into ‘striking’, many were told to stand out on the main N1 highway while the ‘flash-mob’ set fire to vineyards and two cottages of ‘uncooperative’ farm workers.
By Friday, the local ANC-councillor who the farm-workers said had incited the violence, allegedly had fled with his family from De Doorns, leaving a destroyed farming-village behind him. The local texting-site used by the workers said they were ‘happy to have him leave’, describing him amongst others as a ‘labour-broker’ who earned a great deal of money in the valley.
10,000 loaves of bread distributed to De Doorns workers:
On Saturday, the Hex River Table Grapes Association distributed 10,000 loaves of bread to help feed farm-workers’ families who couldn’t buy any food. (Below) Several hours later, Cosatu issued its call to create a nationwide ‘strike’ against all the white-owned farms.
the tiny town of De Doorns (The Thorns) is at the heart of 3,800 hectares of historic grape-farms in the Hex River valley. It also is SA’s single-largest table-grape production area. From this small valley alone, some 18million 4,5kg cartons of table grapes are exported per year. SA’s total output countrywide averages 42-million cartons annually.
After a week of violence and intimidation & negotiations between farmers’ representative AgriWesKaap and wealthy Cosatu trade union representative Tony Ehrenreich, the workers were ‘told to go back to work and rather negotiate directly with the farmer to get your own wage increased’.
However the damage has been done: the bonds of trust which existed between the long-time Afrikaans-coloured workers and their employers will be very difficult to repair, observers believe. Farmers are now speaking openly of mechanising their farming-operations. The Hex River Valley farmers believe that the ‘wage-negotiations’ were just a ploy – that basically the 8,000-strong mob was bused in to wreck their farms and town’s economy for purely political reasons.
This is also believed by political observers including West Cape Premier Helen Zille (who was chased off by rockthrowers shouting “Malema’) and said after this attack that the ‘strikes’ in the Hex River Valley were politically-motivated.
“ANC-instigator has left the valley with his family…”
On Friday-night Nov 10 2012, Afrikaans-coloured workers were clearly relieved that the violence had stopped: texting each other that ‘the ANC-instigator who intimidated us into striking, has left the valley with his family. All is peaceful now’.
Another worker texed: “Pat Nelie and his followers will be held accountable one day. They will burn down to the ground. Nelie had everything which the farmers had and look where is he today. Nelie: don’t be angry with the farmers be angry with yourself. Get a decent job and stop smuggling, stealing from trucks. If you lead an honest life your luck will turn. It won’t help to want to be a councillor, but then not work for the people and still expect to earn a big salary. Everything you have lost, is the Lord’s way to bring you back to earth and start anew. An hnest beginning. I wish you the best of luck Nelie, and heartily hope that your own supporters will in the end also not turn against you: as the saying goes: “What you sow you will harvest’. link
Texting site used by SA workers :
On Monday-night – as if to celebrate and reward themselves for the day’s torching spree of 650 hectares (out of the total 3,800 hectares) of vinyards – the rolling mob invaded the small agricultural town of De Doorns at the valley’s centre. They attacked the Somali-owned spaza-shops in an orgy of xenophobic looting. The police did fire some rubber bullets and tear-gas during this occasion. The loot was carted off in taxis, it was being claimed.
The Afrikaans agricultural weekly Landbouweekblad wrote last week: “On Wednesday-and Thursday-night rioters torched some farmworkers’ cottages at De Doorns after the workers had defied the violence-instigators and gone to work”. They quoted AgriWestCape ‘s Porchia Adam: . “Farmers and the agricultural community now are fedup with these inciting troublemakers.” Picture above: Jacques Beukes, Landbouweekblad.
Local farmers said Cosatu ‘negotiators’ threatened to start torching all the Western Cape farms ‘until they gave in to their demands of R150 a day wage increased (from the R70 legal minimum which was set by ANC-Labour minister Mildred Oliphant).
AGriWesKaap representatives were also personally threatened with their lives by Cosatu ‘negotiators’ and lodged formal charges with the local SAPS on Friday Nov 9 2012.
It’s important to note that farmers already have to pay a minimum daily R218 for each farm worker for their R3,000 a month for free rent, in addition to farmers providing in-kind payment of free electricity, free water-reticulation, free milk for their families, free health-care insurance and free transportation.
Also important: By law, unions are not allowed to negotiate ‘minimum wage’ agreements: this is done by ANC National Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
De Doorns exports 18million cartons of table grapes a year
Below: the tiny town of De Doorns (The Thorns) is at the heart of 3,800 hectares of historic grape-farms in the Hex River valley. It also is SA’s single-largest table-grape production area. From this small valley alone, some 18million 4,5kg cartons of table grapes are exported per year. SA’s total output countrywide averages 42-million cartons annually.
At the moment, the early-grape varieties of De Doorns are in bloom and harvest-time is \pproaching: at least 650 hectares of these valuable vines were already torched since last Monday and 25 farms attacked; two farm-workers cottages also were torched after the families were violently chased out by violent black-males with whips. These families now have no homes. Farmers thus far estimate the damage at at least R14million. And they also face extra costs because they hired the Helivac protection team to try and save the valley from further destruction.
Above: Farmers jumped in and helped each other douse the flames while at least 25 farm-lands were torched. The Afrikaner farmers also called in more private security and sent their families away to friends and families to protect them from the mob.
Xenophobic attacks against Somalis
The little live-in Spaza shops in De Doorns – run by Somali refugee-families as their sole source of income — were looted in an aggressive orgy of violence: local residents said they were helpless against such an overwhelming flash-mob: video and history of xenophobic violence in De Doorns: link
Enroute to De Doorns, the aggressive looters also burnt tyre-barricades and: “basically destroyed everything they could vent their spleen on, including road-signs,” farmers said.
Below: Local farm-residents and farmers told me that many of their coloured workers and their families were pulled from their cottages by the black protestors and sjambokked (whipped) if they did not want to participate in the ‘protests.’ The workers were herded onto the road to prove that they were ‘striking’.
Two farmers, Barry and Louis de Kock, became so terrified of the huge mob invading their farm and surrounding their homestead that they fired warning shots in the air in an attempt to scare them away. The SAPS arrested the farmers for ‘attempted murder’. Farmers said the SAPS basically ‘have their hands cut off after Marikana and can’t intervene, but they did fire rubber bullets to try and stop some of the worst excesses.’
The agricultural weekly ‘Landbouweekblad’ ‘s reporter has been on the scene throughout the protests and recorded the above video. Video source:
Hex River farmer: “Mechanised grape-picking machines don’t burn your farm down’
Comment by Hex River Valley farmer after the rioting: “One cannot give in to their demands because where will it end? There is mechanical equipment available for grape-harvesting. The machine doesn’t complain, works all day, doesn’t ask for wage increases and doesn’t burn down your place. Let farmers get together and buy the technology to everyone’s advantage. Look, even if I have to go and help pick grapes – and I believe many farmers believe the same – we cannot give in. What will be next for our farms?”
The SAPS (below) fired some rubber-bullets at the protestors – the workers were quick to show their rubber-bullet wounds to the Landbouweekblad journalists — but most farmers said police officers just sat and watched. A helicopter also was flying overhead dumping water – scooped with a bucket from farm-dams — on the flames.
documents, relevant links, propaganda statements:
Propaganda statement: De Doorns farmworkers demands justified – Buti Manamela: SA Young Communist League
Buti Manamela 07 November 2012 YCL national secretary says silence of MEC Gerrit van Rensburg on De Doorns situation is revealing
Speech made by YCL National Secretary Cde Buti Manamela to De Doorns today.Revolutionary greetings from the more than 80 000 strong members of the The Young Communist League of South Africa (uFasimba). We have been monitoring the situation of farm workers for some time and saw it fit to come and listen to the demands of De Doorn farm workers. The YCL supports the demands of the De Doorns farm workers in the Western Cape in their strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and an end to unjustified evictions.Some of these farm workers are paid just R55 a day by exploitative farm owners. Workers can’t be expected to raise families and sustain themselves on a mere R1400 a month. The YCL feels that the R150 they are demanding is justified considering the harsh conditions they endure and the hard work they do to maximize the profits of the farm owners.Some labour brokers used by these farm bosses transport farm workers in trucks that are not meant for passengers thus putting the life of workers in danger.Workers are on a daily basis evicted by the farm owners and have been encouraged to move to informal settlements where they will qualify for RDP houses.We condemn the violence against workers and demand an immediate solution to the impasse without the loss of life. We demand police immediately deal with the issue of the irate farmer who opened fire on workers yesterday. An investigation must be carried out as to the reason for the police handing over a coloured youth to a white shop owner to assault him after looting his shop rather than arresting him. These images, of a coloured youth being assaulted by a white shop owner were broadcast to the nation yesterday on eNCA news.The silence by the Western Cape MEC for agriculture Mr. Gerrit Van Rensburg is revealing. His choosing to ignore the situation further proves to us that himself and the party he belongs to and serves under, Democratic Alliance is not concerned about the working class and the poor.Since the De Doorns situation does not present an opportunity for media hype we will not see Madam Zille taking action on it. She will not be marching to the shop owner’s house this Sunday protesting neither against his assault nor to the farm owner house that shot protesting workers.Instead of rushing to invade Nkandla Helen Zille must first deal with the issues that are happening in her own backyard. She needs to quickly realize that the world does not revolved around making headlines and media attention. If the De Doorns situation was offering a pad to launch her 2014 elections campaign we don’t doubt that she would have shown her face there.At the centre of all this situation is the issue of land ownership. As the YCL we feel that transformation is moving at a snails pace. More land needs to be transferred to previously disadvantaged people. The willing buyer and willing seller mode is not serving our people and needs to be done away with and put up measures that will deal issues if land ownership with a sense of urgency. Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report into the conditions of farm workers in the Western Cape. The report found that the conditions of farm workers are perilous with many not being allowed the right to organise, decent sanitation or housing. The HRW called on immediate measures to be taken to improve the lives of the farm workers. The situation in De Doorns proves that the report was largely ignored by the provincial administration. Farm workers are amongst the most vulnerable in society, yet do some of the hardest work to ensure the nation is fed and nourished. We as the YCL say that this must change now.Issued by the YCL, November 7 2012
ANC-propaganda: Bolandse plaasgeweld kring uit: Die Burger:
Pro-ANC propaganda: EWN Cape Farm Workers Revolting:http://ewn.co.za/StandAloneMedia/De-Doorns-121106Video source:
Pictures by Cobus Eksteen
Afrikaner Farmer arrested:
Somali shops xenophobia official government report 2008 De Doorns:
Xenophobic attacks Nov 6 2012 De Doorns:
SACP/Cosatu/ANC ruling alliance behind destruction of Hex Rivier farms
Murder list for white farmers shocks Free State residents:
Report fraudulent, dishonest farm-workers who were dismissed:
Plaaswerkers se huise afgebrand deur swart Cosatu betogers De Doorns:
Second Stage of the Revolution – now referred to as the ‘Second Transition’ in South Africa: