Eshowe farmhouse set alight as protest turns violent
A farmhouse was torched as a community protest turned violent in the rural community of Eshowe‚ in northern KwaZulu-Natal‚ on Sunday night.
This comes after police were warned of a backlash over the March slaying of subsistence fisherman Siphamandla Xulu‚ who had been shot and killed by a security guard as he gathered bait on a farm adjacent to his home.
Police had been tipped off to possible farm attacks this weekend and had been placed on high alert.
Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala said that the area was tense on Sunday after rioters ran rampant.
“The protest action began at around 5pm when members of the community from Umlalazi had barricaded the R66 and P230 roads on the outskirts of Eshowe‚” she said.
“They managed to force their way into a farm and burn a building and also steal a bakkie from the home.”
She said that the area remained tense and warned travelers to avoid the area.
“The police are still dealing with the incident. The mob keeps regrouping so we are dealing with them‚” she said.
No arrests have been made.
Rumblings of a fresh wave of attacks on farms in the region had swirled on social media last week.
In a recording‚ leaked to this publication‚ two men discuss the imminent attack. The origin of the recording could not be established at the time of publishing.
“They want to use their old tactics. They burnt the sugar canes and a farm. It seems they want to do the same thing again and burn sugar cane crops‚ but this time burn houses. I am not sure which houses or crops they want to burn‚” a voice says in isiZulu.
In similar civil unrest in the days after Xulu was killed‚ roads were barricaded and cane plantations and farm houses were torched by rioters in retaliation for Xulu’s slaying.
Security guard Walter Magwaza‚ 21‚ is awaiting trial on charges of murder and had abandoned his application for bail in the Eshowe Magistrate’s court.