Residents of Kirkwood join farm workers to shut down Eastern Cape town

GroundUp reports that over 2,000 farm workers and residents of Kirkwood and Addo in the Sundays River Valley Municipality, Eastern Cape, shut down parts of Kirkwood on Wednesday morning. The workers, supported by the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO), are demanding R30 per hour. The workers say they currently earn between R18 and R23 per hour, depending on the farm. They also complained about having to pick and pack a set daily target of oranges or vegetables. Residents of Kirkwood say they joined the protest to voice their unhappiness with the delivery of services in the township. They want street lights, water, tar roads in the township and a satellite police office station. Petitions were addressed to the municipality, SAPS and farm owners in the region.

Outside Mayor Simphiwe Rune’s office, police officers stood guard as protesters waited for the mayor to come and listen to their demands. Rune came to accept the petition with SAPS Colonel Robbie Riekerk. They both promised to respond to the demands within seven days. There was no representative of the farm owners. Rune told GroundUp that he would write to Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nonkqubela Pieters, about workers’ issues. He said it was unfortunate the farmers had not come to receive the petition.

by Thamsanqa Mbovane

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