Fear­ful farm­ers tighten se­cu­rity, con­sider sell­ing

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - SIBONISO MNGADI siboniso.mngadi@inl.co.za

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.

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