Family call for the protection of farm dweller rights as bail judgement postponed

Following the killing of Mothiwa Ngubane on the 31st December 2017 and the subsequent arrest of his killer, Mr Phillip Solomon, the community and family have patiently waited for the finalisation of Solomon’s bail application, which has taken over two weeks. The bail application was heard once again at the Mshwathi Magistrate’s Court on 18 January 2018.

On the same day the Lembethe family organised a march to Premiers office in Pietermaritzburg. AFRA joined the family and the AFRA director, Laurel Oettle, shared the organisation’s condolences and solidarity with the family.

March
Handing over the memorandum. Photo credit: Laurel Oettle

They expressed their gratitude to her, and emphasised their wish to have a peaceful resolution of the situation. The Lembethe’s handed over a memorandum of demands which include:

  • Ukuvikeleka nokuphepha kwabantu abahlala nabanezihlobo emapulazini.
  • Safety and security of farm dwellers and their relatives on farms.

 

  • Ukuphela kokubulawa kwabantu bakithi emapulazini.
  • Ending the killings of farm dwellers.

 

  • Ukubuyiselwa komhlaba kubantu
  • Land being given back to the people.

 

  • Ukunxeshezelwa kwabalahlekelwa umhlaba.
  • Compensation for those who were forcibly removed (Restitution).

 

  • Ukuba ne Access yokuya emathuneni ezihlobo zethu.
  • Having access to visit ancestral graves.

 

  • Ukuhlonishwa noku thunwa kabusha kwezihlobo zethu ezisemapulazini endaweni enhle indawo yamathuna.
  • Respect for graves and exhumation of ancestral graves of farm dwellers to better burial sites.

The memorandum was accepted by the premier’s advisor, Mr Ngidi, who promised to hand it over to the Premier.

At the Magistrates’ Court in uMshwathi, the magistrate postponed the judgement to the 24 January 2018, the people showed their frustrations with regards to the judgement not being finalised. The case has brought together stakeholders from different organisations and structures, and all of them are united behind the demand that bail be denied to Solomon.

Court
Outside the Court. Photo credit: Mondli Zondi

The Lembethe family stated that they want justice to be done and that they are against any acts of violence which may arise from the judgement from the court. They also expressed their ongoing fear for their safety should the killer of Mothiwa Ngubane be released. The family are also demanding that their land restitution claim, lodged in 1998, be finalised and resolved by Government in order that they may have peace and security on their own land.

AFRA has taken it upon itself to assist the family with the grief and trauma counselling that they have requested in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We would call on any individuals or organisation that can assist in this regard to please contact us on 033 345 7607 or laurel@afra.co.za

Author: AFRA

AFRA is a South African land rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) working with marginalised people on farms to advance the realisation of their rights.

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