One arrested in KZN land grabs
One person has been arrested in KwaZulu-Natal following land grabs in Thornville, outside Pietermaritzburg.
According to police, a 55-year-old man was arrested for trespassing and appeared in court on Thursday following a complaint by the landowner.
"The complainant alleged that the suspect was planning to sell his land without his consent," said KZN police spokesperson Lt-Col Thulani Zwane.
The arrest came after more than 200 community members tried to once again invade a farm in the area.
"This morning we had a big gathering at our farm where people were planning to invade our farm again. We called the police and the crowd was dispersed," said farm owner Daniel Goodall.
Goodall said it wasn’t the first time his property and two other properties in the area had been invaded.
He said that last week more than 400 hectares of his land was demarcated by the community who had also started putting up structures. Following this incident, community members called a meeting at Thornville police station to discuss land ownership.
"The community demanded a meeting at the Thornville police station. They wanted us to prove ownership of the land which is ridiculous because we already have two court orders prohibiting land grabs. How is it that the high court would grant these orders if we didn’t own the land?" said Goodall.
According to Zwane, the meeting outside the police station was dispersed by public order police after tensions ran high.
"It’s quite stressful, you don't know what is gonna happen next. It's also financially taxing with all the lawyer's fees and guard fees," said Goodall.
Since the incidents, Goodall has had to hire 10 armed security guards to watch the premises.