Imbizo; Sunday, 15 July 2018: At a packed community hall in Amersfoort, the Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha conceded that farm dwellers and labour tenants are the most vulnerable in the country.
Amersfoort falls under Pixley Ka Seme Local Municipality, which is a land rights violation hotspot in that there are a number of threats of eviction, arbitrary reductions of grazing rights, denial of access to arable land, access to water and access to visitors.
Reduction of grazing rights and denial of access to arable land, are featuring prominently in land rights violation matters and they sometimes result in unlawful eviction. It was therefore no surprise that the community members raised a lot of concerns which were service delivery and land rights violation related.
During the Imbizo there were also cases where officials were blamed for the slow progress in resolving issues raised with them on the farms. During the Imbizo, submissions were made on all concerns and issues raised and Deputy Minister Skwatsha assured the community members that all issues will be followed up, so that they can be resolved soon.
The same commitment was undertaken by the Deputy of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson who was also in attendance. Deputy Minister Thomson said that government is willing to solve all the problems that farmers are experiencing.
As part of service delivery, Deputy Minister Skwatsha handed over a Title Deed certificate to the Ezwelethu CPA Chairperson, Mr Vusimuzi Kubheka. Kubheka as the representative of the three beneficiary families said: “We will work the land and make it a lasting legacy for generations to come.
We also request government to provide us with the necessary support to make the farm productive”. Portion 2 of the Farm Wydgelegen measuring 900.2152 hectares was acquired and directly disposed to Ezwelethu Communal Property Association (CPA) for the benefit of labour tenants and their associates.
In this project the security of tenure was provided through the award of ownership rights to the member households made up of forty-seven (47) people. There are seven (7) State owned farms in the process of being disposed to legal entities to be formed.
The beneficiaries of these farms are long term occupiers and occupiers who qualify under ESTA (Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 62 of 1997) and Labour tenants, who qualify under the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act 3 of 1996.
The two Deputy Ministers were taken on a visit to Valpoort Farm, to practically see how the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, had the farm subdivided to cater for settlement, planting and grazing needs of the four households.
The department is currently providing infrastructure development on Portion 5 (a portion of portion 3) of the farm Vaalpoort 374 IT. It is envisaged that this development will be delivered to the other three families situated on portion 3 of the farm Vaalpoort 374 IT.
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