Muden land protests turning uglier

2012-05-21 00:00

THE battle for land ownership in the Muden-Greytown area is threatening to turn violent as frustrated community members have started to target trucks passing through the area.

On Thursday last week, community members confiscated the vehicle keys of truck drivers passing through, and KwaNalu security desk spokesperson Koos Marais said some kind of political intervention is needed.

Community leader Jeffrey Ngobese confirmed that the protest action was threatening to turn violent.

“It’s true that they did take the keys from truck drivers; they wanted to use the heavy duty vehicle to block the road and render it unusable,” said Ngobese.

He said the community closed the road all of Saturday.

“...and I believe they will be back tonight [yesterday] to close it. They will not rest until this matter is resolved.”

Another resident who did not want to be named said the protest was becoming a major inconvenience.

“They forced the heavy duty vehicles to a standstill by putting rocks and they took the keys, which closed the road for hours.”

The source said the road was not safe to travel at night.

Last week, community leaders, farmers around the area and agriculture unions warned that the protest action was threatening to turn violent.

The police said they were monitoring the situation and had increased patrols in the area.

The protest action has been ongoing for the past several weeks.

The community has been blocking the use of the road between Greytown and Muden in an attempt to force the Department of Land Affairs to settle their land claim, which has been dragging for the past 17 years.

The delay on the land claim, a farm owned by 194 Marina Beach, has led to the delays in the delivery of basic services to the area.

Farm manager Martin Platt previously told The Witness that he had forbidden the contractors to build dams for water or put electricity lines across the land until the land settlement had been finalised between the land owner and the department.

A local farmer said the atmosphere in the area was tense. “Last week, it was quite pressurised, It’s quite clear that their [the community’s] patience was wearing thin.”

Marais said the MEC for community safety should act as the lawlessness was unacceptable.

In a letter written to the provincial legislature earlier this month, the community expressed their frustration.

“We have done everything to inform government department relevant to the matter. We have had a number of march actions/demonstrations to sensitise our government to speedily resolve the matter, no action has been taken,” reads the letter.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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