Farm Manager Attacked, Thrown In Fire In Alleged Land Claims Dispute

Farm attack

The manager of a farm owned by the Mathulini Communal Property Association in Mtwalume, KwaZulu-Natal has been hospitalised after he was attacked and thrown into a fire on Saturday evening.

IFP MP Inkosi Bhekizizwe Luthuli in a statement on Sunday said the “perpetrators of this violent and unlawful act invaded the farm, set it alight and threw him into a fire with the intention of killing him”.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that a 24-year-old man was attacked by four suspects who “pushed him into the fire”. According to Gwala, he sustained burn wounds and was taken to hospital for medical attention.

A case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm has been registered and is currently under investigation.

According to Luthuli, the perpetrators are part of a ‘concerned group’ that is attempting to hijack a 7500ha land claim from the Mathulini Communal Property Association and the Ndelo Community Trust, valued in excess of R300m.

The farms that make up the land claim produce 400 000 tons of sugar cane annually, with a staff complement of 1 200 people.

“This violent hijack of a legitimate land claim is a desperate and unlawful attempt to achieve what has failed through legal processes that have so far cost the beneficiaries R6.5m in legal fees,” said Luthuli.

He added that they had written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, seeking intervention with the dispute. Luthuli said he hopes that after this attack, Ramaphosa, together with Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, will “take notice” and “will urgently intervene”.

“As a fresh ministerial appointee with previous experience of such matters, we call on her [Didiza] to stop the violent and illegitimate hijack of this land claim,” said Luthuli.