• AFTERMATH: A police van lies destroyed in the main street of Wolseley, near Ceres, on Wednesday after protesting farm workers went on the rampage. Picture: HALDEN KROG

  • Picture: HALDEN KROG

  • Picture: HALDEN KROG

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ABOUT 300 farm workers who went on strike in Wolseley in the Western Cape returned to work on Friday, the South Africa National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the province said.

Provincial general secretary Vusi Myeki said the workers had agreed to suspend the strike for at least two weeks until a decision was made on the farm workers’ minimum wage.

Protests over wages in the Western Cape spread across the Boland, with table grape harvesters demanding to be paid R150 a day. Most earn between R69 and R75 a day. The strike was continuing in other areas of the province.

On Friday protesters looted shops and torched businesses in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape. In the morning, roads including the N2 were blockaded with rocks and burning tyres.

"We have received reports of unrest and torching of businesses but the situation is under control," Western Cape police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut said.

eNews Channel Africa reported that protesters looted a bottle store and that a butchery was torched in Swellendam on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Agri SA said the farmers should be allowed to decide what action to take against their illegally striking workers.

"Lawlessness and criminal activities cannot be tolerated and the culprits must be held accountable via normal prosecution processes," Agri SA labour committee chairman Anton Rabe said. He said affected parties should work together to restore business confidence and peace of mind so the country’s image could be restored.

Sapa