Western Cape Government will not Tolerate Lawlessness
Statement by Minister of Agriculture, Gerrit van Rensburg
The Western Cape Government is noting with increased concern the high levels of intimidation of farm workers who do not want to partake in the current protest action. Workers are scared to return to work, and in several cases physical assault and serious injuries has been the result. It is also very clear that the current protest is no longer a farm worker action, but one fuelled by opportunistic criminals.
It is the responsibility of Government to ensure workers safety, and the Provincial Government will do everything it can to create a safe environment in this regard. The Province is therefore working closely with the South African Police Service.
The Provincial Government is also very concerned about the recent destruction of production facilities in the Paarl and Worcester areas. It is unacceptable that protesters are destroying the very means of employment opportunities they are supposedly protesting for.
The destruction of a packing shed on Sandrivier Estate outside Wellington last night has destroyed the jobs of more than 500 workers. The damage to our economy and future job creation is huge. The Western Cape Government will not tolerate this type of behaviour and condemns it in the strongest possible manner.
We will work very closely with the police to see that the responsible individuals are brought to book. We will also see to it that the organisations they are affiliated with bear their equal responsibility in this regard.
The Western Cape Government once again call on all parties involved to find solutions through negotiation and to distance themselves from any unlawful activities.
I will visit the affected farm in Wellington this afternoon at 16:00 to ascertain the extent of damage.