Top brass condemn attack on farmers

2016-11-24 06:01
Protesters block a gravel road with tree branches and burning tyres in Verulam last Tuesday. Photo: supplied

Protesters block a gravel road with tree branches and burning tyres in Verulam last Tuesday. Photo: supplied

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THE ANC in KZN condemned the attempted land invasion and the attack of farmers in Verulam that reared its ugly head after protestors took to the streets burning tyres demanding that sugar-cane farmers in Inanda Tea Estate leave.

In a statement sent to the media, the ANC said: “Informal settlements are a complex terrain and a major feature of urbanisation patterns especially with regard to eThekwini. There is often conflict between land invaders and formal residents.

“The land invasion unit is faced with a difficult and thankless task. We must stress land invasions are an unlawful conduct that also affects the Constitution rights of citizens. The Department of Community Safety and Liaison is therefore a key stakeholder.

“We are also concerned about the impact on social cohesion and ask for cool heads from all stakeholders. We need communities to get organised and speak to each other on a sustained basis. We cannot respond to this unilaterally. All sectors of the community must be represented so that we can come up with sustainable solutions.”

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma said in a statement: “Demands for land are legitimate and the ANC prioritises responding to this need among our people. Land is a key factor in addressing the triple challenges of poverty, in-equality and unemployment.

“The consistent position of the ANC is that we defend our people’s right to land, but take a strong line against unlawful land invasions.”

Farm workers were injured when protesters attacked them and demanded that they leave. The protesters claimed that they had received information from a local chief that residents can take ownership of the farm.

However, at a special meeting at the Verulam police station eMaqadini chief Mqodi Ngcobo said he made no such statement regarding the farm ownership.

A local farmer Willie Naicker (50) said: “The residents were supposed to meet with us after the meeting with the chief in Verulam, but no one is willing to come forward. We would like to interact with the ANC because we were supposed to meet with the residents so that we get their concerns.

“We have more than 500 workers in the farm and they would like feedback on what is happening.”

At the time of going to press Verulam police were investigating a case of public violence and no arrests had been made.

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