South Africa 7.8.2018 12:16 pm

Community accuses farmer of disrespect, sets farmlands alight in Kranskop

A local farmer allegedly cleared a cemetery on his farm that was being used by the community, a move that sparked the protests.

Farm dwellers and community members blocked off the R74 between Kranskop and Greytown with logs, tyres and broken bottles and set alight some farmlands in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The area has been tense since the weekend. Farm dwellers had accused a local farmer of disrespect after he allegedly cleared a cemetery on his farm that was being used by the community.

According to KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele, the protests started at 3am on Tuesday.

“About 300 protesters have blocked the road complaining about a farmer who has graded the cemetery at the Aussicht Farm,” Mbele said.

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 and traffic was moving slowly by 10am. Protesters were still in the area and SAPS was “negotiating” with them, he said.

Stones, logs, burning tyres and “a lot of broken glass” were used to block the road, he said.

“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 bulldozed 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.

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