Displaced group threatens farmers

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Communities who were forcibly removed from their ancestral land in Golela, outside Pongola on the outskirts of Zululand along the South African and Swaziland border, have threatened to "kill farmers and burn down their sugarcane fields" if their land is not returned.

The Golela Community Trust, comprising pensioners representing about 70 families, said they were removed from the land belonging to their forefathers between 1950 and 1960 by the apartheid government.

The group has been camping in an area called Makhathini for nearly a decade now.

Chairperson of the Golela Community Trust, Zwelibanzi Sithole, said they made a claim in 1998, but nothing has happened ever since.

Sithole said they had tried to invade some farms in Pongola before, but police stopped them, saying they must lodge an application.

"We will kill all those farmers because they are the ones who are refusing to move away from our God-given land," Sithole threatened.

He claims that Jozini Dam was built on the graves of their forefathers.

Land Affairs department in Pongola had not responded to Sowetan's questions at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, Durban Metro Police defused a volatile situation when homeless people from KwaMashu invaded an open space to build shacks.

The people, mostly women, invaded the land after they could not access low-cost houses.

A meeting is expected to take place between the councillor and concerned shack dwellers today.