Land battle finally pays off for woman (88)

2012-12-05 00:00

A LONG-RUNNING and acrimonious battle between an elderly woman and a farmer in Howick was finally resolved yesterday.

Florence Zondi (88) and farmer George Duncan Anderson have been at loggerheads since 2000 over a piece of land that Zondi lives on.

Zondi claimed the land as a labour tenant, while Anderson contested the claim.

The feud has led to court challenges and allegations of harassment, intimidation and assault.

Yesterday, the Rural Development and Land Reform Department paid about R1,3 million to buy the 7,2-hectare plot from Anderson on behalf of Zondi.

She told The Witness yesterday that she was very happy that she had secured her land and will keep it in her family for generations to come.

After pointing out the boundaries of her land and signing the sale agreement, she and several of her neighbours and family had a braai to celebrate.

“I could not even build a planned house because of the problems with my land ownership. Now I can do that,” she said.

“I have lived in this area since 1949,” said Zondi.

“We were given this land by my previous employer, who has since passed on, as payment because my husband had worked for him without any payment.”

She said a dispute over ownership arose when Anderson arrived in 2000.

Her son, Robert Zondi, said the turmoil in the area had now come to an end.

“The land is now under the Gagashe trust. We now own this piece of land.

“This has taken a long time and it was because the Land Affairs Department was moving so slow.”

Anderson said: “The land has been handed back to the Zondis, but it was under false pretences as they were never labour tenants there.”

The department’s spokesperson, Sipho Dlamini, said they bought the land to settle a labour tenant claim in favour of Zondi.

“Mrs Zondi is now secure in her ownership of the land and can now live without fear of eviction hanging over her.

“ We will now engage all our necessary processes to help her graduate from being a labour tenant to a farmer.”

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