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In the eye of the winelands storm, – The Daily Maverick

Nosey Pieterse has been a seemingly permanent presence at the De Doorns protests since November. When the Daily Maverick spent time in De Doorns last week, NGO sources told us that Pieterse was one of the few figures who commanded the ear and respect of the angry crowd. It was Pieterse who was able to calm the gathered protestors and persuade them that attacking journalists was not in their best interests. We were also instructed to leave De Doorns in a convoy with Pieterse, as it was felt that nobody would obstruct our passage if we were accompanied by him.

By some measures his popularity among farmworkers is easy to understand. Pieterse has been particularly active in intervening in proposed evictions of farm workers. He has also been instrumental several times in bringing lawsuits intended to improve the lot of farmworkers: one, in 2007, aimed to sue government and the agriculture industry for the high levels of alcoholism among farmworkers, which he attributed to the legacy of the dop system.

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