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Sun May 29 19:20:31 SAST 2016

Marikana poster is not mine: Ehrenreich

Sapa | 30 November, 2012 15:30
Tony Ehrenreich, Provincial Secretary of COSATU for the Western Cape. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images/Leon Sadiki

Cosatu's Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich on Friday distanced himself from a poster that spoke of a "Marikana" in the Western Cape.

"I completely disassociate myself from that poster. I have no idea where it comes from. Perhaps one of the unions put it up," he said in a phone interview.

Provincial Democratic Alliance leader Ivan Meyer opened an incitement case against the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) official on Thursday.

Meyer accused Ehrenreich of putting the posters up and said he seemed intent on creating a climate similar to the one that led to the violent and tragic clashes between police and workers at Marikana.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers and wounded 78 while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16.

The poster was apparently put up in the Cape metro and reads: "FEEL IT!!! Western Cape Marikana is here!!!"

Meyer said a National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union logo was displayed on the poster above a picture of Ehrenreich.

Text on the poster stated that Ehrenreich "has warned Premier Helen Zille on the imminent Marikana of the Western Cape".

Earlier in the month, Ehrenreich was quoted as saying that if farmworkers continued to be ill-treated and under-paid, the country would see "a Marikana in De Doorns".

Previous protests by farmworkers this month caused chaos and destruction in 16 towns, including De Doorns, Wolseley, and Ceres. Two people were killed and many buildings and vineyards were set alight.

Workers were demanding R150 a day and improved living conditions.

They suspended their strike until Tuesday on condition that the employment conditions commission (ECC) review the sectoral determination for agriculture.

Ehrenreich said he would never incite violence and explained the parallel between Marikana and De Doorns.

"In Marikana, what led to the crisis and trouble was where workers were acting outside of union leadership and advice. In De Doorns, workers and farmers are acting outside of union leadership and advice."

He said the same crisis should be avoided at all costs.

He blamed provincial premier Helen Zille for the poster "stunt".

"It smacks of a political gimmick. I think Helen Zille is feeling aggrieved since workers chased her out of De Doorns."

"I urge her to separate her ego from politics and from there, maybe we can start getting it right."

The National Council of the Afrikanerbond on Friday said there were deliberate attempts to expand Marikana and its consequences to the Western Cape.

Secretary Jan Bosman said their feedback indicated that dubious political agendas were involved in protests and that farmworkers were being deliberately misused.

He said Ehrenreich, provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman, and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson were responsible for inciting farmworkers.

"What is even more amazing is the obvious hostility of some in government and the alliance partners towards farmers.

"Where broad South African interests should be promoted, the impression is that there is no thought or regard whatsoever for life, polarisation, food security, and the negative economic impact of the protests."

He called for President Jacob Zuma and Cabinet members to speak up on the matter.


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