Thursday, July 24, 2008

‘The Zulus came with 4x4s and invaded our land’

An unnamed Pietermaritzburg smallholder writes on zasucks

'I have experienced a most traumatic week, and wanted to share the details with all of my many friends on this Forum. (Update: Google pulls zasucks.blogspot.com)

* By way of background: I live on a small farm-smallholding just outside Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. It is difficult to even put into words how magnificent my surroundings are.

I have always attempted to leave the acacia bushveld around my home intact as a refuge for wildlife, and this means that I have been able to enjoy the sight of our wild antelope grazing on my front lawn.

All of this tranquility was shattered last week when our area experienced a massive land invasion. Although a small number of the "land grabbers" were poor persons, who were attempting to draw the attention of the government to their plight, the vast majority arrived in private vehicles to get "free land".

* I personally saw a large number of SUV's devastating the landscape, and it became evident that professionals, businessmen and even policemen (predominantly members of the Zulu tribe) were staking claims with plastic chevron tape!

Huge numbers of wild-eyed antelope were dashing out of the bush, and tearing over my property to get away from the land grabbers. Not all of them made it to safety, however, my neighbour came across a most awful scene outside his gate.

* He responded to a sound which he said was like that of a screaming baby. There were a whole group of our "new neighbours" cooking the hind leg of a common Duiker (small antelope) while the animal was still alive, and writhing and screaming in pain, my neighbour, Victor, had the sad task of having to slit its throat to put it out of its misery.

Being a qualified lawyer I assisted my neighbours to bring urgent High court interdicts to stop the invasion.

These interdicts essentially maintain the status quo (no new occupiers can venture onto the land and interfere with it in any way until the eviction proceedings are heard in the middle of August).

The occupiers can, of course, oppose the eviction proceedings in August. Habitat of rare Aloe Pruinosa in my affidavit for the High Court proceedings I also referred to the fact that the area which was invaded is the only valley in the world where the rare Aloe pruinosa occurs.

* I annexed to my paper's photographs I had taken of a stand of Aloe pruinosa inside one of the "plots" which had been staked out by an illegal occupier.

How close did the invasion come? Well I have plastic chevron tape attached to much of my boundary fence! '

"At some point the sound of shouting, the chainsaws and falling acacia trees was so close, and so frightening that I sent my wife and five year old son to my parents' home for safety.

* Due to the fact that the High Court return date is scheduled for a date after I had booked to depart for the EEE, I don't believe that I will be able to attend.

* If the eviction proceedings were to fail, I believe that my own property might be invaded as well.

Police just stand by and watch: The most frightening thing of all is that the police essentially played just a 'monitoring role' in the last invasion -- and my neighbours had to pay outrageously high fees to get private security companies to enforce the Court orders.

* It took the police three hours to respond to my call for help, and they merely spoke to the invaders and left. It does not appear that we can rely on the police to protect our interests.

Our government has also kept the whole thing under wraps, so as not to damage South Africa's image abroad (what with the Soccer World cup due to take place in SA in 2010).

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No sources for this story was provided but the closest link we could find was here and here.

This appeared to have occurred near Ashburton / Mkondeni / Shortt's Drift areas (which all seemingly fall under the Msunduzi municipality) last year as the sources are datelined July 8 2007.

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