New Hanover commercial farmer Reinhard Ortmann has been granted an interim court order to remove a ‘troublesome’ family from his sugar cane farm after a long toxic relationship, according to a Sunday Tribune report.

But the family members claim they have no alternate accommodation.

Ortmann – a trustee of the Ortmann Trust, which owns timber and sugarcane plantations in the KZN Midlands – applied to the Land Claims Court to have the Gumede family evicted, citing safety concerns.

Ortmann claimed they posed a fire risk to his sugar cane plantation and that two of the sons were recently involved in the burning of his sugar cane.

He also accused the family of threatening him and his employees and opened police cases against them.

Land Claims Court Acting Judge Thomas Ncube ordered that the family be removed from the farm pending the outcome of the case.

The interim order found that Ortmann had suffered damages when the sugar cane plantation was set alight and stated it would continue if the Gumedes were not removed.

It said in any event, the availability of alternative accommodation was not a requirement for the granting of an order of removal.

Ncube said he was mindful that the Gumede family had denied the allegations, but they had just tendered a bare denial without substantiation.

Full Sunday Tribune report