KZN South Coast farmers who fear for their safety may be forced to relocate
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DURBAN - A NUMBER of farmers in Fountain Head, an area just outside eMkhomazi, say they may be forced to relocate due to ongoing attacks on their properties.
The small community said there had been several violent criminal incidents in the area, and that they were being ignored by law enforcement.
According to them, livestock was stolen, crops were being destroyed and homes were being broken into.
Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, one of the farmers, Ragi Govender, said she had been a victim of more than three incidents.
She said her family had decided to move out of the area.
“I had two break-ins in a short space of time. I moved out this weekend, and yesterday there was another break-in at my house. They stole some of the things that we had left behind to be collected this weekend,” she said.
Describing a previous incident, Govender said her 68-year-old motherin-law was alone inside the farmhouse when three men held her at gunpoint.
Govender said she was at work, and her husband was working in the fields at the time.
“They took everything they wanted. They then tied her to the chair before fleeing with a loaded bakkie. That left her very traumatised. While we were still dealing with that trauma, a few days later, a copper pipe was stolen.”
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed the incident and said the woman was inside the house when she noticed three unknown people playing with her dogs.
Mbele said she told them to leave her dogs alone, and while she was going back inside the house the suspects followed her.
“One suspect withdrew his firearm and instructed the complainant to not make any noise. They robbed her of her belongings including cellphones, computer, jewellery, home theatre system, cash, and then fled,” said Mbele, adding that a case of robbery had been opened at eMkhomazi police station for investigation.
“We can’t take this any more and we are tired of these attacks. A week after our robbery, our neighbours were also attacked, and had their car, belongings, and livestock stolen,” said Govender.
She said farmers had raised the issue with the police and the ward councillor at a meeting.
Ward councillor Bob Daniel Naidoo confirmed the meeting and said that while it was being held he had heard horror stories about how criminals were targeting farmers in the area.
“The houses on the farms are isolated, so most farmers fall victim to these attacks. The police are aware of all these issues, but sadly nothing has been done and the police take long to respond,” he said.
He said that they had requested high police visibility around the area.
“We all know the importance of the farming industry to the economy of the province and country. It would be unfortunate to have farmers closing down due to such activities,” he said.
He added that he would be writing to the KZN Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the provincial police to appeal for assistance.