The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has yet again let the community of Gwatyu Farms down by not conducting a thorough land rights enquiry into the community’s claim to the land they have lived on for generations.
Yesterday, 19 August 2019, I was joined by DA Shadow MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Retief Odendaal, MPL, and members of the Gwatyu CPA in meeting with the Department in Komani.
The people of Gwatyu have been in an endless battle with the ANC government for over two years seeking the transfer of ownership of the approximately 42 000 hectares – constituting 88 farms – from the government to the Gwatyu CPA.
On 19 June 2018 the Department committed in writing to deliver the land rights inquiry to the people of Gwatyu by 28 October 2018.
This followed a departmental land audit report completed in 2016. The Gwatyu CPA is yet to receive this land audit report, as well as a 2016 Ministerial Task Team report into Gwatyu whose findings have never reached the community, and a 2016 Action Plan Towards the Registration of the Gwatyu CPA which remains unregistered.
The land rights enquiry report is almost 10 months overdue, but yesterday’s meeting revealed that the Department only spoke to 488 of the 800 households of Gwatyu Farms while conducting the inquiry. This report would therefore be based on a flawed consultation process.
I have escalated this matter to the DA Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane, MP, who has written (see letter attached here) to the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, to request the following:
- A fresh land rights inquiry be established within 14 days; and
- Confirmation of whether the 2016 land audit, 2016 Ministerial Task Team and 2016 registration of the Gwatyu CPA processes were replaced by the land rights inquiry; and if so
- How the Department’s commitments to these previous processes will be honoured?
The demands of the people of Gwatyu are simple:
- The official registration of the Gwatyu CPA committed to by the Department;
- The full Land Audit into Gwatyu completed by the Department in 2016;
- The release of the land rights inquiry promised to be delivered to the Gwatyu beneficiaries on 28 October 2018; and
- The transfer of land ownership rights to the people of Gwatyu.
- The DA will not rest until Gwatyu residents are no longer tenants of the state on the land they have lived on for generations.
Nqaba Bhanga MPL
DA EC Provincial Leader
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