Uniondale protests farmers arrested

Uniondale protests / Image via Twitter: Takhaar @wcpretorius

Uniondale farmers arrested for allegedly opening fire on protesters

One farmer arrested was blockaded by protesters while heading into town.

Uniondale protests farmers arrested

Uniondale protests / Image via Twitter: Takhaar @wcpretorius

Two farmers from Uniondale in the Little Karoo have been arrested for allegedly shooting at protesters during a demonstration on Monday morning.

Earlier this week, disgruntled community members took to the streets in numbers to protest inadequate service delivery. The protest action disrupted traffic on the N9 highway between Willomore and Uniondale, leading to the road’s closure.

Farmer blockaded while travelling with wife and child

Shortly after daybreak, reports of sporadic gunfire reached local law enforcement. South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson, Captain Malcolm Pojie, confirmed that multiple shots had been fired at opposite ends of the small town.

Pojie explained that a farmer had discharged his weapon to disperse protesters after his vehicle had been blockaded. According to initial investigations, the farmer was attempting to travel into town. Pojie said:

“The farmer, his wife and child were on their way into town when they were blockaded by protesters. The farmer discharged his shotgun on protesters.”

Charges of attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a municipal area were opened as investigators recovered shell casings and statements from eye-witness at the scene.

Uniondale protests and politics

Secretary of the African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape, Faiez Jacobs, called for the immediate arrest of the farmer in question along with urgent intervention from the Human Rights Commission. Jacobs said:

“This is what happens when our people exercise their right to protest. We demand that the farmer be charged without any delay.”

Jacobs, along with ANC ward councillor, Jacques Esau, lambasted the mayor of George, Mike Naik, for failing to engage with embattled residents. Esau said:

“Residents had demanded that George’s DA Mayor, Mike Naik, be in Uniondale today (Monday) to collect a memorandum from them. He did not come and sent the Deputy Mayor Charlotte Clarke. We turned her away and told her to tell the mayor that we want to see him and not her.”

Arrest of Uniondale farmers

On Thursday, police arrested two men in connection with the two separate Uniondale shooting incidents. Pojie confirmed that three people sustained injuries as a result of the farmers’ actions and, as such, the accused had been charged with attempted murder, pointing of a firearm and the illegal discharge of a firearm within a municipal area. Pojie said:

“We also confiscated three firearms – a revolver, a shotgun and a rifle – which will be sent for ballistic analyses.”

The accused are due to appear before the George Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Read: Security guard who shot KZN protester six times facing murder charge