Wine grape producer cleared of assault charges

A wine grape producer from Robertson has been found not guilty on assault charges.

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According to a statement by Agri Western Cape Gerald Slingers, an employee of Eilandia Farm, opened a case against Mechau Viljoen for allegedly slapping and choking him.

Slingers claimed that the incident occurred because he arranged for Karel Swart, general secretary of the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers Union, to meet with farm workers on the farm, the statement said.

It further said the court heard that Slingers never mentioned being slapped by Viljoen during his testimony, and that he changed his testimony during cross examination by saying that Viljoen attempted to hit him, but missed.

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Magistrate Marius Nel said Slingers’ testimony was found to be unreliable during cross examination.

“He said Slingers’ version of the alleged incident could have been fabricated for political gain,” according to the statement.