Group threatens farmer

2019-04-12 15:36
This week ‘troublemakers’ blocked the main road to a farm in Donnybrook, disrupting farming operations and preventing workers from going to work.

This week ‘troublemakers’ blocked the main road to a farm in Donnybrook, disrupting farming operations and preventing workers from going to work.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A farmers operation in the Donnybrook area, which pays out R2 million in monthly salaries, has had to turn to court to keep its doors open.

This follows protests allegedly sparked by the fact that the farms employ six Zimbabweans on their workforce.

Emerald Dale Farms and Patula Sawmill on Thursday obtained an urgent temporary interdict in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

It prevents employees, former employees and anyone else from gathering or organising protests at any of the farms or public roads allowing access to and from the farms.

The “trouble-causers” have also been ordered not to burn tyres, logs, trees, plantations, building structures or any substance on the farms.

The application was brought on an urgent basis by advocate Chris Snyman, SC, before Judge Piet Koen following protest action that worsened at the farm this week.

Trees were set alight and farm workers were prevented from going to work, farm owner Maxwell Anderson said in court papers.

The protesters are unhappy that the farm has employed six Zimbabweans and are demanding they be fired, he said.

Anderson and his sons farm cattle, have a dairy, a sawmill and plantations. They employ between 350 and 380 people.

Last week Anderson said, he was called to a meeting on the farm attended by mostly ex-employees and unemployed individuals.

He was told by them “in no uncertain terms” to dismiss all his Zimbabwean employees, otherwise there would be trouble on April 8.

He did not.

On Monday the protesters blocked the road to the farm with burning tyres. This prevented the mill and plantation staff from coming to work.

A meeting was arranged about this by the police, which was attended by the local inkosi, two izinduna and four ex-employees who had been dismissed for various reasons including assault and theft.

Anderson said he promised that he would not employ more Zimbabweans.

There was, however, no compromise and the attitude was simply that “we as the Andersons must leave the farm or the Zimbabweans must leave”.

“I was notified by my dairy manager that my dairy staff had been intimidated and fled. I therefore do not have people to milk the cows and we are milking 1 500 cows twice daily ... so the dairy basically came to a standstill with great loss of income,” the farmer said.

The unproductive and ineffective dairy can lead to an epidemic disease of the dairy cattle, known as mastitis.

The disease partly destroys the milk producing tissue and this reduces the cows’ milk production. Often, mastitis-infected cows must be culled, said Anderson.

He added that an inkosi later met with the crowd who reiterated they were not prepared to compromise.

Anderson then suggested he would ask the Zimbabweans to leave over the next 12 months, once he has replaced them and found new positions for them.

This offer was also rejected.

On Tuesday, he said staff members told him and his family that they must leave the farm for their own safety because the “unknown locals threatened to remove them by force from the farm”.

The troublemakers then started to set the plantations alight. Luckily, because the plantations were wet with rain, they did not burn.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  xenophobia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.