Case opened against Western Cape councillor who allegedly transported farmworkers

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Cape Town – A Witzenberg municipality councillor is in hot water after he was allegedly caught transporting his eight seasonal farmworkers from Wolseley to their homes in Calvinia recently.

Billy Claasen, of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, said they had opened a case against councillor Petrus Heradien at the Vanrhynsdorp police station yesterday for violating lockdown rules.

Heradien, who did not respond to questions yesterday, is believed to be a labour broker and the farmworkers are understood to have been staying at his premises.

Claasen said the councillor was transporting his workers from Wolseley through Ceres on Friday when he was stopped by police and denied entry into Calvinia.

Claasen said the Northern Cape police apparently escorted the farmworkers and the councillor 20km into the Western Cape.

“The councillor then allegedly dropped the workers in the streets of the Matzikama municipal town of Vanrhynsdorp. We received a call from community members and contacted the police.

“The police and Matzikama municipal officials managed to get the workers to Vredendal for screening and then accommodated them in a safe place,” Claasen said.

Claasen called for the immediate arrest of the councillor for contravening lockdown regulations.

“This was a reckless action by the Witzenberg councillor and therefore we need him to answer for this. We call on the Covid-19 teams and the police in Matzikama and Witzenberg to act on this,” he said.

Matzikama mayor Mathilda Bains said the actions of the councillor sent out a wrong message to society.

“We support the call for his suspension. We are in contact with the police in Calvinia and the district mayor to resolve this matter,” she said.

Police had not commented by deadline.

Cape Times

By Siphokazi Vuso


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