News / Africa

S. Africa Police Disperse Farm Strikers With Rubber Bullets

A man walks past burning barricades during a farm workers strike in De Doorns, South Africa, November 14, 2012.A man walks past burning barricades during a farm workers strike in De Doorns, South Africa, November 14, 2012.
x
A man walks past burning barricades during a farm workers strike in De Doorns, South Africa, November 14, 2012.
A man walks past burning barricades during a farm workers strike in De Doorns, South Africa, November 14, 2012.
Reuters
South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at hundreds of striking farm workers who blocked a highway in the grape-growing Western Cape on Wednesday, the first clashes of a year likely to be marked by fractious labor relations.

The strikers had piled burning tires across the main highway through the town of De Doorns, 100 kilometers east of Cape Town, to demand higher wages, a Reuters reporter on the scene said.

Four people were hospitalized for minor injuries from rubber bullets as police dispersed the crowd, an emergency worker said.

``I can confirm that 41 people have been arrested, but that number could rise,'' said police spokesman Andre Traut.

The strikers set bushes on fire and torched a bulldozer and a caravan, sending smoke billowing into the sky. After the crowd had scattered, police removed large rocks that protesters had used to block the road. Empty rubber bullet cartridges littered the ground near the highway.

Growing labor unrest

Africa's largest economy saw waves of labor unrest last year that began in the platinum mining industry and swept through the trucking and agriculture sectors.

Police killed 34 miners at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine during some of the worst unrest in August, tarnishing South Africa's reputation among overseas investors and prompting downgrades of its sovereign debt ratings.

With gold and coal mines employing more than 250,000 people due to begin industry-wide wage talks in coming months, analysts expect labor relations to cast a shadow over an economy forecast to grow by around 3 percent this year.

The government says South Africa needs annual growth of 7 percent to bring down unemployment of around 25 percent.

Diminishing confidence

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry [SACCI] said labor unrest could knock slowly recovering business confidence, which rose in the last month of 2012 but was still lower than the previous year.

The strike by farm workers in the Western Cape, home to South Africa's multi-billion-dollar wine industry, follows a similar walk-out in December in which warehouses were set on fire and at least two workers died in clashes with police.

The workers, many of them black seasonal hires employed to pick and pack fruit on farms owned mainly by the white minority, want a minimum daily wage of 150 rand [$17.44], up from 69 rand.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid