15 November 2012

South Africa: Slain Western Cape Man Identified

Photo: Kate Stegeman/Daily Maverick
Police monitor demonstrators: Protests had spread across the winelands from De Doorns to Robertson, Wolesley, Ceres, Prince Alfred Hamlet and the surrounds.

Cape Town — Tractor driver Michael Daniels was walking to buy groceries in Wolseley when he was shot and killed, allegedly by Western Cape police, the Cape Times reported on Thursday.

The 28-year-old was shot in the chest and six others were wounded during a farmworkers' protest in the Boland town on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not clear whether police used live ammunition or rubber bullets.

Daniels' mother, Magdalena, said her son, a father and sole breadwinner, was not part of the protest and had only walked with protesters towards the shops.

Farmworker Deon Conradie told the newspaper a senior police officer gave the order for officers to open fire.

"She said 'skiet die goed vrek' (shoot the things dead). We got frustrated with police and some protesters threw stones and swore at them," Conradie said.

He said the crowd ran when shots were fired.

"I looked back and saw Michael lying on the ground. He was shot in the chest. I lifted him up. We called the police. We poured water on his face, but he did not respond."

Daniels was declared dead at the Ceres Hospital.

Western Cape police confirmed to Sapa that a man had been killed as a result of police action and that at least five other people were injured during protests in Wolseley.

Lt-Col Andre Traut said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) would investigate.

Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini told Sapa an investigator was sent to the scene.

"I can confirm that one person was killed. However, we only have a report that three were injured. An investigator is on his way to gather more details."

Grape harvesters in the Hex River Valley protested for more than a week about their wages, demanding R150 a day. Most earned between R69 and R75 a day, with R80 being the highest and only offer from farmers so far.

Sixteen towns in the province were affected by the protest. Roads had been blocked, tyres burnt and property destroyed.

On Wednesday the labour department announced a two-week suspension of the strike, on condition that the Employment Condition Commission look at the sectoral determination for agriculture.

This meant the R70 a day minimum wage for farmworkers would be cancelled and renegotiated. The Congress of SA Trade Unions assured the department that workers had been consulted on the agreement and would abide by it, and not resort to violence and vandalism.

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