15 July 2011
Rural Network Press Statement
On 05 March 2011, Mr. Nayetsheni Lymon Ndlozi was brutally beaten by the farm owner of Vaalbarn Farm in Utrecht. At the time of the attack Mr Ndlozi was going to fetch his cows that had been impounded by the farmer Mr Johan Landman and his son. Mr Ndlozi a 62 year – old man is a farm labour tenant who claimed Uitkom farm and was vindicated by the Newcastle Court. The farm used to belong to Mr Landman’s father and he was very much angry about the judgment. He was trying to use the attack on the Ndlozi family as a way of constructive eviction.
On the said day Mr Landman came and opened the gate on Mr Ndlozi’s farm Uitkoms and drove the cattle to his farm Vaalbarn. When the old man realized that his cattle were taken by this notorious farmer he reported the matter to the police. They gave him the permission to go and fetch his cattle and to report to them if he faced any trouble. So he took his son Siyabonga (20 years old) to accompany him to Vaalbarn farm. There they met Mr Landman and his son who didn’t say anything but assaulted them with an iron rod and injured them. Mr Ndlozi and his son were unarmed when they were attacked. They did not provoke the Landman family. After the attack Mr Ndlozi was in a very bad condition. He had a wound in his head and a bruise on his eye. His son also had a bruise in his eye.
Mr Ndlozi called the police and they came and started negotiations with the Landmans which took about three hours. Then the local community was angered by this incident and also disturbed that the police was not arresting. They became impatient and wanted to take law into their own hands. It was then that the police decided to come with 6 police vans and arrested Mr Landman, handcuffed him and put him at the back of the van and took him into the police station. This was a victory to see a white man being handcuffed and Mr Ndlozi was seen as a Hero. The case was opened and Mr Landman also opened a counter charge. Mr Landman was given a bail of R1000. Although Mr Ndlozi was the one with all the injuries he was also arrested and he got a bail of R200.
Mr Landman’s charge is assault GBH case number 20/3/2011. Mr Ndlozi’s charges is common assault case number 19/3/2011. What was surprising is that Mr Ndlozi’s charge was the one that was opened first but it was the last to be held in court in the docket. Even in the docket the first case number and the one that was opened first was given the last date. It means that people are still not equal before the law because the farmer was given preference.
The hearing of the Mr Ndlozi charge was on the 12th of April 2011 and the community decided to have a protest march. Because of that pressure exerted by the Rural Network and the community at court that charge against Mr Ndlozi was dropped. Mr Landman’s charge was to be held on the 14th of April and was later postponed to the 18th of July 2011 in Utrecht Magistrate’s court at 9am.
It is an irony that at this day which is celebrated as a Mandela Day Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Rural Network will be in court. We will not be doing community work which will be in respect of Mandela but pushing the struggle, as always, to defend our right to Land, Justice and Human Dignity.
The Presiding Officer is Mr. Hadebe and the prosecutor is Mr Matima> the investigating office is Superintendant Kubeka.
For more information please contact
Mr. Thokozani 071 604 8957/ 072 026 5276 (Utrecht community committee) Miss. Nokuthula 072 530 4156 (Newcastle Rural Network branch coordinator)
Rev. Mavuso 072 279 2634 (Rural Network Spokesperson)