Swartberg: Road blocking charges dropped

2012-02-10 00:00

CHARGES have been withdrawn in the Kokstad Magistrate’s Court against two businessmen who faced criminal charges linked to an ongoing dispute between various landowners and the Snowdon Farm Trust over access routes to farms in the Swartberg area.

Attorney Paul Firman confirmed yesterday that the state had withdrawn charges against Pietermaritzburg marine biologist Dr Francois Talbot and farmer and businessman Francois du Plessis.The case against the other three accused — hotelier Ian Worrall of St Bernards Peak Hotel, Swartberg, farmer and businessman Haydn Harris and farmer Don Ogilvie — was postponed to March 6.

Firman said the prosecution would meanwhile consider its findings following an inspection of the alleged public access routes which are in dispute.

The accused were arrested last month in connection with charges of contravening Section 10 of the KZN provincial roads act of 2001 for “unlawful denying or obstruction of access to property”.

The Snowdon Farm Trust, which has links to former business tycoon Gary Porrit, is also involved in a civil dispute in the high court over access to farms it has acquired in the Swartberg area. The trust has stated it wishes to develop a “high mountain resort” in the area on the Lesotho border.

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