KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said at the weekend that ongoing tensions between farmers and workers was endemic in many parts of the province.
In a expose to address strained relations, Zikalala engaged with farming communities in Pongolo, Vryheid and Newcastle over two days, including meeting with a family whose home was allegedly demolished by a farmer in Glückstadt.
The main aim was to hear what challenges farm workers and dwellers are facing, beef up relations between them and farmers and outline accountability approaches taken by authorities in addressing reported human rights violations and abuses within the farming communities.
The premier was accompanied by participants of his cabinet.
Among the burning considerations raised by communities was the alleged abuse by farm dwelling owners and police bias against the neighborhood and in favour of the farmers.
In Pongolo on Saturday Zikalala came across “there are a sequence of considerations with the farmers and the communities who stay around there.
“The hostility that exists is now not going to assist us going forward. This subject is now not only in Zululand. This a trend and we are able to intervene in all areas.
“Where we intervene, we are able to also establish a construction that need to apply up on considerations that have been raised.
“We want to create an atmosphere where farmers, workers and dwellers stay together in harmony.
“We also want to make sure that productiveness of all farms including those that have been successfully claimed and transferred to communities.
“It is a trend that we noticed that when there is a subject between farmers and workers, police are accused of taking the facet of farmers.
“We would want the police to act in a manner that is impartial and goal. We are consolidating and referring them to the department that they are followed up,” said Zikalala.
Addressing hundreds of farm dwellers and workers in the northern KwaZulu-Natal farming district of Normandien on Sunday, Zikalala said he supported a call by the farming neighborhood for a fee of inquiry into their concerns
“I reinforce the establishment of a fee of inquiry into the worries raised by the farming communities in KwaZulu-Natal. I have one reservation about commissions and it is that they take too lengthy to find to the backside of considerations,” he said.
The highlight of the engagements was the lighting of a candle in a call for dedication to peace and social cohesion among the communities. The candle-lighting ceremony was also in reminiscence of farming neighborhood residents who succumbed to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Zikalala encouraged communities “to plant the seeds of peace, unity and social cohesion which can assist to develop KwaZulu-Natal into a fruitful and affluent province”.
Following the engagements, Zikalala established a cabinet committee to address the flaws raised.
The committee will meet month-to-month and file back to the neighborhood every three months.
Newly appointed provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi has been tasked with dealing with grievances relating to the police.