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Police fire rubber bullets on striking De Doorns farmworkers

Sapa

Western Cape police have fired rubber bullets at workers in De Doorns protesting for better wages, says a police spokesperson.

'The protest in De Doorns erupted at around 3am this morning,' said Warrant Officer November Filander. (David Harrison, M&G)

"The protest in De Doorns erupted at around 3am this morning and police intervened and used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd," Warrant Officer November Filander said on Monday.

"People were arrested, but I have no further details on the incident. Police will continue to monitor the situation."

Farmworkers in De Doorns in the Western Cape want their minimum R69 daily wage increased to R150. The strike began on August 27 last year, and was called off on December 4 and resumed on Wednesday.

Since the strike resumed on Wednesday, De Doorns has been the epicentre of violent clashes between protesters and police.

On Thursday, police used a water cannon, fired rubber bullets and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse thousands of strikers who pelted them with stones.

A truck was hijacked and set alight on Saturday morning.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) offered to intervene in the strike on Saturday saying it had the authority and the skills and experience to mediate a solution.

"We have offered our services – which we are empowered to do in matters of public interest – and trust that the parties will respond positively to our offer," executive director Nerine Kahn said in a statement.

The CCMA said they were in a position to mediate a binding short-term agreement while the parties wait for a sectoral wage determination by the labour department. – Sapa

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