The Black Association of the Agriculture Sector has slammed police for warning motorists to refrain from stopping along the N1 in De Doorns to buy grapes.
This followed a police statement in which spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said the warning stemmed from an increase in the number of reported muggings of people stopping to buy grapes at Sandhills GG Camp informal settlement.
“In most incidents, the motorists stop with the intention to just buy grapes and criminals rob them of their belongings such as cellular phones and cash,” said Rwexana.
De Doorns, along the N1, became a notorious crime hot spot last year after a number of trucks were looted allegedly by residents who opportunistically attacked truck drivers to steal their cargo.
One truck driver was killed when a rock was thrown through his windshield.
Black Association of the Agriculture Sector president Nosey Pieterse said police should be more visible in the area instead of killing the source of income for genuine sellers.
“I believe other alternatives such as boosting safety and security measures should have been in place. First, it was the signs and boards erected warning people, now statements are issued advising people not to buy from these poor people who depend on that income.
“They have no other alternative but to sell grapes because local farmers there aren’t employing them. The farmers rather take people from other areas and employ them because the protest over wage increases in the past years.
“This needs a holistic approach because those who rob motorists are criminals who are taking advantage of the situation,” said Pieterse.