Livestock battle hots up
Farm dwellers at Utrecht in northern KwaZulu-Natal have vowed to fight to the bitter end against farmer Freddy Zondag, who has won a court order to have their livestock attached by the sheriff of the court.
The dispute stems from the court order in which Zondag instructs families living on his farm not to own more than 15 livestock. Some families say they have more than 70 livestock.
In August, Zondag applied to the labour court that more than 50 cattle, horses, goats and sheep owned by three families on his land be impounded.
The order was granted last month, and the sheriff duly impounded extra livestock from the three families.
The order authorises the sheriff to round up all cattle, goats and sheep on the farm belonging to Mzikayifani Khumalo, Mfaniseni Nzima and Mbhekiseni Khumalo.
Yesterday, a group of landless people converged on the labour court in Durban for an appeal hearing.
The matter was, however, due to be heard today.
Ntombizodwa Nzima owns 87 cows, excluding calves. She said she was not even thinking about reducing her livestock to numbers demanded by Zondag.
"Over my dead body. How does he expect us to reduce our livestock? What am I to do with the rest of them - must I give them to him or what?"
Nzima said they had lived peacefully with the previous farmer, but things turned nasty when Zondag took over three years ago.
"He had a problem with us the moment he realised how much livestock we have, and he told us that we needed to reduce them to a minimum number. We won't accept that," she said.
Nzima said they applied for land restoration in 1995 and again in 2000, but that there had not been any response from Land Affairs.
Acting provincial chief director of Land Affairs Thembeka Ndlovu said the department had tried to work with farm dwellers by obtaining an out-of-court settlement.
"We eventually got alternative land for them but they said they did not like it and we got stuck.
"But we will be helping them now that the farmer has obtained a court order," said Ndlovu.
Zondag said he could not comment as the matter was sub judice.