WoSA says the latest unrest is not connected to the wine industry

WoSA says the latest unrest is not connected to the wine industry

Wines of South Africa has moved to clarify reports linking the country's latest scenes of civil unrest with the wine industry. 

Speaking to just-drinks today (11 January), Sue Birch, the trade group's CEO, said: “As far as we know the actvity is not in the wine areas. That doesn't mean to say we're immune, but at the moment, that's not where it is.”  

On Wednesday, the BBC reported that police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse farm workers striking over pay in the Western Cape town of De Doorns. 

But Birch said: “This is not just farmworkers, it's people in the communities who are unemployed and have grievances.” She added that today is “much quieter” as more police were evident on the streets. 

“The industry has worked really hard to improve working conditions on farms, which have always paid above the minimum wage,” Birch said. 

In November, WoSA spoke out after civil unrest in parts of the Cape Winelands, claiming that the burning of vineyards and packsheds was not carried out by workers from the affected farms.