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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Land dispute documents grabbed

From South Africa Sucks

A KwaZulu-Natal farm, where a 47-year-old manager was clubbed to death in a land dispute, was held up by a gang of black land invaders.

While police confirmed the incident at the New Venture farm near Melmoth, the farm's owner said his security staff had identified one of their attackers as a man who was arrested in connection with the murder of the former manager Kenneth Eva.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said a case of armed robbery had been opened, but he could not provide further details.

In January 2007 farm manager Kenneth Lionel Eva was bludgeoned to death on the farm in the Nkwaleni area north of Eshowe with sticks and knobkerries as he attended a meeting with 250 people who claimed that part of the farm belonged to them. Eva's vehicle was also burned and the attack made headline across the country.

One person was subsequently arrested and later released due to an apparent lack of evidence.

Farm owner Mark Chennells said he had received a call at 2.30am that armed robbers had broken into the farm offices and taken documentation that related to the ongoing land dispute. He said that the ringleader of the robbers was the man who had been arrested in connection Eva's murder. "He was identified by the security guards," said Chennells.

Sapa has learnt that the local farm watch alerted police to the robbery at 1.50am. It was not immediately clear what the status of the Eva murder case was, although Koos Marais, the head of security at the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, said: "We understand the suspects are known, but because of intimidation the witnesses are not prepared to come forward."

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