KZN graves: More questions than answers

2015-03-24 09:32
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and members of the provincial executive council visit the scene where about 100 graves were reportedly discovered on a sugarcane farm in Dududu. (Reinhardt Hartzenberg, KZN Office of the Premier. Sapa)

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu and members of the provincial executive council visit the scene where about 100 graves were reportedly discovered on a sugarcane farm in Dududu. (Reinhardt Hartzenberg, KZN Office of the Premier. Sapa)

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Amanda Khoza, The Witness

Durban - Instead of answering the many issues posed by the supposed presence of bodies at a South Coast farm, a visit to the site by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu on Monday presented more questions than answers.

Are there indeed 100 bodies, as has been speculated?

Are the remains those of humans?

If so, were they prison labourers?

Or were they political prisoners?

Why, eight months after the apparent discovery, has not one grave been exhumed?

Preliminary findings

Mchunu answered some questions yesterday based on preliminary findings and relying on information received from sangoma Bongekile Nonhlanhla Nkomo, whose vision led to the discovery of grave sites at Glenroy Farm in Zembeni village, Dududu, last year.

Unconfirmed reports have placed the number of remains at 100.

Mchunu was accompanied by members of the provincial executive committee including Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mnchunu, Arts and Culture MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi, and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Cyril Xaba.

Mchunu said his office would submit a report detailing their findings to President Jacob Zuma by Friday this week.

Zuma 'shocked'

Mchunu contacted Zuma last week, informing him about the discovery.

“He was shocked. I told him that we had plans to go to the farm. He said I should write him a report on the findings after I had gone there.”

Mchunu said the province would wait for a directive from Zuma on how to handle the matter.

“The president will tell us what to do from here. Maybe he will refer the matter to the national government, maybe he will want the province, national and traditional leaders to work together with investigators.

“We don’t know which authorities will be called to do the investigations on our behalf. If he says we should handle it, then we will, but until then we won’t do anything.”

Mchunu said the KZN Arts and Culture Department had been tasked to be the “eyes and ears of the provincial government”.

He said the government was gearing up for a mammoth task in investigating the deaths, which are believed to have occurred between 1960 and 1980.

It is believed by some that the remains are those of prisoners from Durban, who had been “bought” by farmer Walter Lindsay. The farm is now owned by Illovo Sugar.

Read more on:    senzo mchunu  |  durban

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