BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
WOODLANDS commercial farmers have clashed with Mzinyathini villagers in Matabeleland South province over stray livestock that is reportedly destroying their crops.
Obert Chinhamo, a farmer in Woodlands, accused the villagers of destroying perimeter fences and deliberately letting their livestock into their fields.
He said efforts to engage the community had been futile.
“My neighbour had maize and sugar beans destroyed by Mzinyathini cattle,” Chinhamo said, adding that some of the cattle came from eSikhoveni, Bonjeni new line and Doyana villages.
“We estimate that 40 to 50 hectares of our farm produce have been destroyed by the villagers’ livestock. We have tried to talk to them, but they seem not to care. We are trying to work with the impound master in Bulawayo so that they can help us impound the animals,” he added.
Mzinyathini traditional leader, Chief Stanley Gwebu said he was not aware of the issue since no reports had been made.
“I am not aware that my people’s livestock is a problem at Woodlands Farm. The farmers should come and report the matter to me so that I will be in a position to help them,” Gwebu said.
Ward 3 village development co-ordinator, David Mpofu said farmers were in a confrontational mood and reluctant to engage in a dialogue.
“These people are not willing to come to terms with us so that we resolve this matter amicably. We are not aware that their fences were stolen. We only know that their farms are not properly fenced and some don’t have fence at all,” Mpofu said, adding that the villagers did not support the idea of impounding livestock.
Umzingwane Member of Parliament Levi Mayihlome said there was need for dialogue.
“I urge the Mzinyathini and Woodlands farmers to resolve this matter through dialogue. We don’t choose neighbours, but they are imposed on us so people should learn to live together peacefully,” he said.