Durban - FARMS in the King Cetshwayo District Municipality, which includes uMhlathuze, uMfolozi, and uMlalazi municipalities, were severely impacted by acts of looting and arson last week.
Provincial secretary of the KZN chapter of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa Thube Zondi said they are still receiving reports from different parts of the province.
Zondi said many of the farms had their livestock looted, with many farmers left with no stock.
“The northern part of the province was the hardest hit, as their farms were also set alight. We have also received reports from farmers based in Richards Bay and Empangeni. Many of our members have reported to us that their livestock has been missing since last week. We have advised them to open a case because it’s clear that they were also looted,” he said.
He said that some members had stock that was in a position to go to the market but these plans had been derailed due to the looting and protests in the province.
Zondi stated that this has since resulted in farmers having to incur additional costs in order to increase security around their farms.
“At this stage, we are still quantifying the loss. However, the preliminary reports we have received thus far from our members tell us that the damage is more than R1.9 million. We are still getting more reports, so there that number will likely rise,” he said.
Zondi added that they were hopeful that the government would institute some form of compensation for the affected farmers.
Furthermore, he said they were engaging with the provincial and national governments to submit the gathered information, in order to ensure that the affected farmers don’t go out of business.
He said that none of their members has said that they would be shutting down.
At the weekend, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza, and KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Bongie Sithole-Moloi visited the areas of Eshowe and Ulundi, to assess the damage to the farms burnt by rioters.
KZN Agriculture Department spokesperson Vusi Zuma said, as part of the visit, the department also assessed the damage experienced by farmers.
He also confirmed that King Cetshwayo District was the most affected, with more than 29 farms affected in the district.
“In these farms, many of them had their livestock stolen and sugar cane farms were torched,” he said.