Kokstad farmer under attack

2010-06-22 00:00

A KOKSTAD farmer is under siege from criminals intent on forcing him off his land by destroying his property.

On Sunday, they left a death threat note at his gate demanding that he and his employees vacate the farm within one month or they will be killed.

Allistar McDougal, a dairy farmer of Driefontein farm in Kokstad, received the death threat after weeks of intimidation.

Three weeks ago, criminals injured 37 of his cattle; eight were put down after they were found hamstrung.

They also burnt 150 hay bales worth about R45 000.

In the note, the criminals, who claim to be McDougal’s former employees, demand that he and his employees, who came with him from Limpopo four years ago, vacate the area or they will be back to kill them.

“All the employees you dismissed from your employment are back. According to a decision they have made, all your employees that you have hired last should go back to Limpopo where they belong. This is not Limpopo,” says the note.

The note goes on to say that in one month, the former employees will kill the people there and destroy the farm.

This prompted McDougal to lay a charge with Kokstad police station. The station confirmed that a case of intimidation has been opened.

McDougal said that when he arrived in the area, he had hired local people, but dismissed them after they arrived drunk on duty and were fighting during working hours.

He stressed, however, that ever since he came to the area he has experienced problems with the criminal element there.

“Six months after I arrived, they tried to destroy my dairy, they hacked two calves and horse to death with an axe and injured another horse. They also tried to sabotage my irrigation system.”

He said he is almost certain that a criminal element is operating in the area in an attempt to force him off the land, but it cannot be about a land claim issue because he knows of no claim on the property.

He said the note came from the people eager for him to discard his trusted employees. “They tried to infiltrate my employees, but they failed because I have been with them for a long time and I trust them.”

Koos Marais of the security desk at KwaNalu expressed concern about the situation and said the union will liaise with the police to increase the protection of the farmer and his employees.

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