Estcourt farm on the verge of invasion

2013-02-04 00:00

ESTCOURT farmer Hilton Moor was shocked to discover hundreds of people apparently bent on invading his property, Greystone Farm, yesterday morning.

Moor told The Witness he’d cut short a family excursion to the Berg when he received a message from his neighbour that people were invading the farm, which is adjacent to Wembezi township.

Moor said he is currently in the advanced stages of finalising the sale of the farm in question to the Department of Land Affairs and is no longer farming on the property.

He is still carrying on farming operations on other land which he owns in the area.

On his arrival, he said he’d discovered at least 300 people gathered in groups on the property and along its boundaries. Stakes had been driven into the ground in places and plastic bags apparently marked people’s “claims” to the property.

Acting on the advice of police, he opened a case of trespassing and later, under the watchful eye of police and security personnel, he made inquiries to find out who the people were.

He was uncertain as to what had sparked the invasion, but said the people there claimed to be unemployed members of the Wembezi township community desperate for land and housing. “They want to build their huts here and live rent free,” he said.

“When I approached the crowd they said that they want to show the municipality that they mean business because the municipality is taking too long to live up to its responsibilities.”

He said arrangements were made to hold a meeting with the stakeholders on the farm today to discuss the way forward.

Moor said he was also attempting to get hold of the local mayor to discuss what was happening.

Umtshezi (Estcourt) mayor Sbu Ngubane’s cellphone was on voicemail yesterday and he did not respond to an SMS from The Witness informing him that the newspaper wanted to obtain comments with regard to the land invasion on Moor’s property.

KZN provincial police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that a complaint of trespassing in connection with a land invasion had been received by police at Wembezi yesterday.

The situation had been defused and people had moved off, but police would continue to monitor events on the farm, he said.

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