Durban – Angered by the desecration and clearing of a cemetery, protesting farm dwellers and community members on Tuesday blocked off the R74 between Kranskop and Greytown with logs, tyres and broken bottles and set alight some farmlands.
The area has been tense since the weekend.
Protesters accuse a local farmer of disrespect after he allegedly cleared a cemetery on his farm that was being used by the community.
#sapsKZN Road R74 between Kranskop and Greytown are barricaded as a result of #ProtectionAction this am. #SAPS Pietermaritzburg POP Unit members, Greytown RTI & the Local councillor & neighbouring stations are present in the area to restore order. ME pic.twitter.com/bDKdfX3IsY— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) August 7, 2018
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, colonel Colonel Thembeka Mbele, said the protests started at 3 am on Tuesday. “About 300 protesters have blocked the road complaining about a farmer who has graded the cemetery at the Aussicht Farm,” said Mbele.
Mbele said public order policing, the road traffic inspectorate and Greytown police were at the scene monitoring the situation and clearing the road. No injuries or damages had been reported, she said.
Roelf Koningkramer, chairman of the Kranskop Farmers’ Association, told African News Agency (ANA) that farmers had also been clearing the road. Protestors were still in the area and the police were “negotiating” with them, he said.
Stones, logs, burning tyres and “a lot of broken glass” were used to block the road.
“I farm about 10 kilometres away from where [the protests are taking place] and I am not sure about what [started this],” he said.
Koningkramer said he had heard “via the grapevine” that the protests concerned bulldozing of a cemetery, “but that is as much as I have heard”, he said.
“There were some fires last night on the farms surrounding the area where the protests started and we assisted with dousing them,” he said.
Koningkramer said he believed there had been damage to property but was not yet sure of the extent of the damage.
“I was directing traffic from the Kranskop direction [about two kilometres from the critical scene] to make sure no one entered a dangerous situation and to hopefully deter vehicle damage etcetera,” he said.
African News Agency (ANA)