Land at the heart of KZN farm attack – department of agriculture

Eshowe – Issues surrounding the validity of land claims in Esha are part of the main underlying reasons for recent violence in the area, the KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and rural development has said.

Spokesperson Khaya Nkwanyana spoke to News24 at Corby Hill Farm on Friday, where the government was assessing damage from a rampage, allegedly by the local Xulu Homestead community, following the shooting of a man on the farm. Two other farms were also damaged, but were not part of Corby Hill Farm.

"During our engagements, we had picked up on the issue around communities and traditional leaders believing the areas where the farms are located should be under land reform claims."

Nkwanyana said that this was a separate issue.

"There are processes to put in claims through government. You cannot just come burn property like this."

Siphamandla Xulu was allegedly fishing in a private dam on a 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.

Nkwanyana said the department had visited V-1 Security, which conceded to heavy handedness on the part of its security guard.

"We spoke to the management and they agreed that, if a person was fishing illegally, they could have been told to leave instead of shooting and killing them."

Sense of fear in farmers

Nkwanyana said that, after speaking to farmers, the government sensed fear.

"They are moving around with their guns because they are afraid. The white farms that were attacked had nothing to do with this farm. In fact, this farm belongs to a black doctor from Empangeni."

The farm owner is believed to be on holiday overseas.

Nkwanyana said the government would continue its engagement with all stakeholders, including chiefs in the area.

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