File photo: SAPS (Twitter)

Durban - At least one sugarcane farm was torched and police and private vehicles stoned in the eShowe area in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday night after angry community members went on the rampage.

The African News Agency (ANA) was told that vehicles were being stoned along the intersection of the R66, which connects eShowe to Melmoth, Ulundi, and Empangeni, as well as the P230, a rural road.

Public order policing units from Empangeni had been called to the scene. 

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed the incident, saying that the R66 and P230 were closed to traffic and the scene was "active". 

The protests started at about 5pm, according to Gwala. One farmhouse was torched and a bakkie was stolen. No arrests had been made. The incident comes two months after farms and property were torched in the same area.

A police source based at eShowe, who is not authorised to speak to the media, called the actions of the protesters “strange”.  

“It looks like they want the security company involved in the last shooting closed down, which of course we cannot do. It appears this latest flare-up is related to that incident,” said the source.

In March, nearly all the sugarcane on a 225ha farm belonging to Dr Fikile Qoboshiyane was burned. Workshops, cottages, staff quarters, and the main farmhouse were also torched. The farm was one of three targeted. 

That incident was sparked after Spamandla Xulu, 29, was fatally shot by a V1 Security guard on Qoboshiyane’s farm. It is understood that Xulu and another man had been fishing illegally at a farm dam and refused to leave when asked to do so. This led to an altercation and the fatal shooting. The other man was unharmed. The security guard was arrested and remains in custody after being denied bail. 

A local farmer, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation by the angry protesters, confirmed the Sunday night arson attacks. “We dealing with it right now,” he said.

African News Agency/ANA