Umlalazi municipality pleads for calm following fatal shooting, burning of farms

2018-03-16 19:43
Workers attempt to reconnect electricity at the farm in Umlalazi that was burnt yesterday. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Workers attempt to reconnect electricity at the farm in Umlalazi that was burnt yesterday. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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WATCH: Eshowe farm torched following protests

2018-03-16 17:22

Protesters in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, set a farm on fire after the fatal shooting of a man, allegedly at the hands of the farm's security guard. Watch.WATCH

Eshowe – By Friday morning one of the three farms that were razed by fires started by a local farming community, was wet and damp after overnight rains.

It created a dreary atmosphere as media, government officials and local farming associations descended on the northern KwaZulu-Natal farm.

Speaking to News24, a senior official at the Umlalazi Municipality called for calm following the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man.

"We will request the community to remain calm to let the family mourn and have enough time to prepare for this funeral. Understand their anger and ensure as leadership to bring all stakeholders together," municipal speaker Cyril Dlamini said on Friday.

Dlamini was speaking from the Corby Hill Estate Farm, one of the farms allegedly destroyed by around 500 Xulu Homestead community members after they embarked on a violent protest on Tuesday and Wednesday following the shooting of the man.

"We are here to mediate the situation and ensure that all parties are safe. We do not like to see incidents of this nature."

Siphamandla Xulu was allegedly fishing on a private dam on Corby Hill farm in Umlalazi on Tuesday when he was shot by a security guard from V-1 Security. The security guard appeared in court on Thursday and the case was postponed to March 22.

'Largely a misunderstanding'

Dlamini said the law needed to take its course in the matter.

"Someone has appeared in court. We have since learned that this farm does not even belong to a white farmer. We need all the information."

Speaking to News24, a third generation farmer in the Eshowe area, Rob West, said the incident was unfortunate.

"I feel the situation is largely a misunderstanding. The community believes the farmer was involved, but he is not even on the farm. He is overseas."

West said that he was proud to be an African farmer.

"We are Africans. I was born here, my dad and grandfather are also from here. My family came here in 1866. I don't know anywhere else to go. I love Africa. My kids are African. We want to work together with the community for the greater good of the community."

Eshowe farmer worker Michael Khoza told News24 that he was saddened by the death and the violence.

"On the farm, we are peaceful people. We should be able to fish. And we must live in peace. I feel sad for what has happened. I feel bad for our people."

'It exploded so quickly'

Chairperson for the Eshowe, Entumeni Farmers Association, Craig Hambury-King, said farmers were willing to work with the community to bring peace.

"We want to speak with the community leaders and resolve this. In our experience, we get along well with our community, neighbours and staff. We received no reports of issues. If there are any issues damning toward us we would love to hear them. We don't know what we have done to upset people to this degree."

Hambury-King said he was "very concerned" that the incident had escalated so quickly.

"It exploded so quickly. We are in as much shock as anyone else. We are not sure why it evolved to this so quickly. Most of these issues can be resolved if we communicate before this point."

Hambury-King said the farm was owned by an African doctor and a local farmer.

"It is a joint venture and a successful little farm. I do not know if the community knew this all belongs to an African man."

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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