Wednesday 2024-06-19




By STARSKY MKHONTA | 2024-05-30

THE owner of the farm at Mbondzela in Gege Sandile Simelane or anyone who gave a go-ahead for the demolition of houses for the residents/ farm dwellers did so without a court order.

The owner of the farm informed Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Prince Lonkhokhela and Minister of Tinkhundla Sikhumbuzo Dlamini with other senior officials that there was no court order when the demolition/eviction was carried out.

Simelane through his lawyer Nkosingiphile Dlamini informed the two ministers as well as other officials and residents that he had to see how he defended himself, his employees and property upon realising that the residents/ farm dwellers were attacking him or his property and his workers.

This was revealed yesterday during an emotive filled meeting held at Mashobeni South Umphakatsi where the two ministers had come to ascertain how government could intervene in the issue that had got out of hand.

Also present during the meeting were Gege Member of Parliament (MP) Agrippa Magesi Dlamini, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Tinkhundla Nonhlanhla Dlamini as well as Under Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Sicelo Simelane,  attended by over 500 residents.

Shiselweni Regional Secretary (RS) Bheki Thwala who directed the programme represented the office of the regional administrator.

With Simelane’s lawyer having explained what led to the situation reaching the precarious stage it was at, it was when he was going back to his seat that Thwala requested him to clarify something regarding the demolition of the houses for the residents living in the farm.

Thwala also requested those that were in attendance to voice out their views. He encouraged every speaker to address or ask those in attendance with respect.

He then directed a question to Dlamini (lawyer), asking him if his client followed the law when executing the demolitions.

“Just give clarity here.
Was the demolition done after a court order was obtained and if so were the farm dwellers or families whose houses were demolished shown the papers granting the owner the right to demolish the houses or to evict them?” Thwala asked.

The lawyer even though he was diplomatic when responding to  the question, said there was no court order when the exercise was carried out.

He claimed that what his client did, was more like self-defence as the residents were supposedly attacking him.

“He had to see how he defended himself, his property and his workers. Any criminality that had been taking place at the farm, the owner reported it to the police. On the day in question (demolition), there were four workers that had been attacked and assaulted.

This reached his ears and he had to act. So badly injured the workers were such that as we speak, some are still fighting for their lives in hospital as they are in a critical condition.

One of them needs specialists as he needs to be operated. Some of the workers have stitches all over the body as a result of the torture and assault they were subjected to by the farm dwellers,” claimed Dlamini.

He claimed that as the farm owners had been attacked and injured by the dwellers, he had to act.
“The workers, by virtue of being in the farm, means they are there for his safety and his property. When you are cornered or attacked, you find a way of defending yourself.

“It’s even worse when you are attacked by people within your property who are at your mercy and are not legally occupying same. These are people who should also play the role of security in the farm,” added Dlamini.

The lawyer said his client had all along been patient as the farm dwellers were reportedly giving him a headache.

He said in the farm, there were at least 39 cases that had been reported, all which were to do with criminality committed by the farm dwellers.

“In all the 39 cases, no solution was found, but what has been happening, more criminality is taking place in the farm. The crime continues unabated and the farm owner is worried and concerned. What this means to me is that this is what I see as grabbing the land/farm from the owner.

“What has been happening would result to the farm owner running away from the farm as he was time and again attacked. Seeing that he was in danger, he then decided to find a way of defending himself from the people who know that lawfully, they are not supposed to be there. So what happened, he was defending himself from these people illegally occupying his property,” said Dlamini.

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