Good deed turns sour for KZN farm owners

03 April 2016 - 02:00 By NATHI OLIFANT


When Good Samaritans Andrew and Rae Wartnaby opened their home, Hope Farm in Cato Ridge, to about 137 foreign nationals displaced by xenophobic violence, they thought they were doing the right thing. The group of mainly Congolese and Burundian nationals were given shelter and food, while volunteers educated their children at the farm 30km from Pietermaritzburg.story_article_left1However, months after this wonderful gesture, the couple are regretting their decision. Andrew said it had been the most difficult eight months of their lives."We have taken time off to get away from this and we are not on the farm at the moment," he said.In December, a breakaway group of about 84 set fire to a tent, cut a fence and refused the couple's help. The group accused Andrew of being a government agent who had devised a plan to reintegrate them into their communities. He has since asked them to leave his farm and has also sought the help of the MEC for transport, safety and liaison, Willies Mchunu."I was fed-up with what they did after we tried to help," he said.The group has since left his farm and is being housed in the Durban CBD.

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