Police deployed to farming community after social media threat
Police are on high alert following rumblings of a fresh wave of attacks on farms in eShowe in northern KwaZulu-Natal following the killing of subsistence fisherman Siphamandla Xulu in March.
The farming community was plunged into chaos after Xulu was shot twice by a security guard after he was caught on a farmer’s land.
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.
In a recording‚ leaked to TimesLIVE‚ 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.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that officers deployed in the area were on high alert.
“Police have received reports of intimidation against the security company. Eshowe police are conducting patrols to monitor the area and prevent any criminal activities‚” she said.
Nathanial Zwane‚ the owner of V1 Security and Magwaza’s former employer‚ said they had gone to the police for help.
“What we have been told by our sources is that our company would be attacked and that the farmers’ homes would be torched this weekend‚” he said.
“We have no idea why this has been planned. We assume it may be linked to the shooting of the community member.”
Zwane said that after Xulu’s death they had donated money to his family to help cover the costs of the funeral.
“Our company contributed money and goats to the family and as far as I know they have no problem with us and my former employee is awaiting trial. Someone else is planning this‚” he said.