SAHRC calls on police to double efforts in Kranskop after unrest

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called on police to double their efforts in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal following unrest between a local farmer and the community.

"The commission urges [police] to redouble efforts to attend to and investigate all complaints from the members of the community who complain and report violations of their rights and the law, such as allegations of the desecration of graves," the SAHRC said in a statement on Friday.

The eSigedlane community alleges that a farmer desecrated graves, demolished homes and prevented the community from using pathways on his farm.

Last week, the community blocked the R74 road and set fire to plantations in the area after reports that graves were dug up on the farm.

They have since given the farmer an ultimatum to leave the area. Residents have also called for all white farmers to leave the area immediately.

The commission said it noted undertakings Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner General Bheki Lang had made to investigate the issue.

"The commission will monitor [the police] investigation into these allegations with the view of ensuring that the matter is appropriately addressed. Besides it being a crime to desecrate graves, it is also a culturally-sensitive and emotive matter."

The commission condemned "acts of violence" and urged the community to exercise restraint while investigations continued.

It added that calls by some of the community for white farmers to leave the area "are strongly condemned".

"They are also counter-productive to the promotion of social cohesion in our constitutional democracy."

However, the commission added that the allegations of the desecration of graves had to be dealt with decisively.