Fearful farmers tighten security, consider selling
THE HIGH level of incidents involving land invasions in the KZN Midlands has prompted some farm owners to consider selling their properties in fear of their lives.
Several bed and breakfast establishments as well as factory owners, all who asked not to be named, said they lived under the threat of having their land invaded.
Some believe the land invasions are organised by a group that want to instil fear in land owners causing them to abandon their properties.
Several farmers the Sunday Tribune spoke to said they had intensified security around their property.
One couple, who run a business near Richmond, said they had put their property on the market because they lived in an isolated area and felt under threat.
The couple inherited the farm from their parents and run a factory as well as a bed and breakfast operation. They also create jobs which could be lost.
“We now have to move or else we will end up losing our lives. Since mid-october, a group of people have been coming around demanding to take the land from us.
“Police and municipal officials were called but we cannot be guaranteed of our safety and no one has been arrested as yet.”
They claimed that vacant land around their farm had been divided into plots which had been illegally sold to people.
They indicated that other farmers faced similar challenges and were also reconsidering their future in the area.
Ntobeko Ngcobo, the spokesperson for the Msunduzi Municipality, confirmed that since October, their Anti-land Invasion Unit had been called out on several occasions to stop land grabs.
Ngcobo said the municipality had consulted with law enforcement agencies and the provincial government to ensure the safety of the farm owners.
Some of the land invaded was recently purchased by the municipality as a burial site.
“The municipality is acting on it and legal actions are being taken against the invaders. We have been experiencing high levels of land invasions recently and there are organised groups that perpetuate these illegal acts.
“Some of the targeted land is owned by the municipality. We have even received information about a member of the law enforcement agency who encourages the invaders,” she said.