The family of a South African farmers has filed a case against South African food traders to gain access to their land.
The family of Bhuvan Ghandhi, who farms in the state of Bangui, filed the suit on Tuesday in a Banguio court against the country’s national food company, DHL, and its employees in the city of Bemba.
They claim the company has “intentionally” withheld goods and services from their family since they moved to the country in 2013.
“The farmers’ claim is that they were promised, ‘you will deliver your goods’, and this is just the latest in a series of promises to the farmers,” said Bembuo lawyer Tino D’Souza.
“They also claim that the company’s management and staff did not give them adequate compensation for the losses they suffered and the damage they suffered to their agricultural land and the livelihoods of their family.”
In October, South Africa’s national government announced that it would investigate allegations of widespread corruption among its top government officials.
The Banguian farmer’s lawyer, Dzweleni Mkhize, said the case would be sent to the High Court in the southern city of Gauteng.
He said it would then be up to the courts to decide whether the family would win the case.
“I am convinced that the South African government must be held accountable for what has happened here,” he said.
The lawsuit is the latest legal action by the family, who has been living in the Banguo town of Jomba for more than 50 years.
Mr Mkhise said the farmer’s claim was based on several articles of complaint lodged by the farmers, including that DHL had not paid for the costs of rearing their animals and that they had not been given adequate compensation.
“We believe that we are owed at least $50,000 [in compensation],” he said, adding that the family had filed the case to get “the truth about the situation”.
“We have a very long history of being farmers and this company is not just one of the biggest, but one of our big ones.”
Mr Mkize said he had spoken to the company to try to obtain a response from DHL about the claims and hoped to have it “take action to protect us”.
“The company has told us that they will investigate the matter,” he added.
The company denied the allegations and the case was adjourned.
In a statement, the company said it had never discriminated against farmers or consumers.
The company also said the allegations made against it were baseless and it was committed to ensuring that farmers were not discriminated against.
“At no time during the investigation has the company made any claim that any farmer or consumer was discriminated against,” it said.
DHL has denied the claims.