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South Africa: Protests prevent harvestThe quiet town of Grabouw, an hour south east of Cape Town, has this week been the scene of violent protests.
The protests are about overcrowding at a local school, but its the agricultural sector that stands to lost out.
If the protests continue the it is unlikely that farm workers will be able to get to work. This is one of the country's premier fruit producing regions and farm labourers, many of whom live in the surrounding areas, not on the farms themselves, have already been prevented from accessing their places of employment by the protests.
This is particularly bad as, right now, it is is apple picking season and the workers need the extra pay that they often receive this time of year.
In addition to their normal day rate, which is typically less than R70 (R1 is equal to $0.13 US) per day, workers can earn R27 and upwards for each bin of apples they pick. For those earning R400 or less per week, this extra money can be hugely significant, swelling weekly compensation to as much as R600 or R700.
Most of the seasonal workers in the area have come from the Eastern Cape, who have moved to the area, attracted by the increased pay opportunities.
many of them have family members at home dependent on their earnings.
More protests re planned for next week if there is no resolution to the overcrowding at the school.
Publication date: 3/23/2012
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