A South African farmer in KwaZulu Natal lost 17 cows to a xenophobic attack after the assailants accused him of employing Zimbabweans on the farm.
Charles Anderson, 62, of Emerald Dale Farms and Patula Sawmill, said he has done a lot for the local community and did not expect to be treated that way.
Anderson’s wife, Luan said that she was pained, seeing the cows with deep cuts, grasping for air and dying.
The farmer was forced to bolster security on the farm by hiring guards after attempts to petrol bomb the home of a Zimbabwean farm manager were unsuccessful.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala confirmed that six suspects had been taken in for questioning on Sunday and that the motive behind the attack would be investigated. Said Gwala:
A case of malicious damage to property is being investigated by Donnybrook SAPS. It is alleged that on Thursday, a wendy house was set alight, two cows were maimed while another 12 sustained injuries.
The attackers warned Anderson to dismiss all Zimbabweans employed on the farm, otherwise, there would be trouble, but Anderson dug his heels in. Said Anderson:
… we as the Andersons must leave the farm or the Zimbabweans must leave.
It is totally unacceptable to dismiss employees who have done nothing wrong but were dedicated to their duties.
But I will wait for the employees to come up with proposals on how we can move forward. For now, production has been stopped with very little happening on the farm.
A qualified harvest manager, who has a diploma from the College of Forestry in Zimbabwe and who asked not to be named, said:
These issues regarding their dismissal were supposed to be raised last year, but it waited until attacks flared in Durban townships. They were really taking advantage of the recent attacks.
I was told by local employees that because I hold a senior position, my life was at stake. When employees get fired for misconduct we, in senior positions, have to carry the blame.
Meanwhile, project manager at the Institute of Race Relations Terrence Corrigan said xenophobia was being fanned by unselfish politicians:
A lot of frustration regarding the lack of service delivery causes people to be impatient and to blame foreign nationals for their situation.
Although there were only a few Zimbabweans employed on the farm, locals found an excuse to use to push for the dismissal of foreign nationals.
More: IOL News