Hongerdoorn farmers who have been renting over 10 000 hectares of land for more than a decade fear imminent eviction.
The National African Farmers Union (Nafu) has slammed the move by the Northern Cape’s Ditlakong Municipality.
It says the local authority is prioritising game farming and mining at the expense of black farmers.
Son Radebe has been making a living on this farm since 1982, first as a labourer and since 2007 as a subsistence farmer.
His 60 goats and 8 head of cattle have secured his family’s future. Now that hangs in the balance.
“I feel bad because the farm isn’t working like it’s supposed to because we are no longer tilling the land. We are used to fixing the fences or the windmill and fix things that need to be fixed, but now everything is standing still, “says Radebe.
The group of communal farmers say when the last lease agreement expired in 2017, they were told that it would be extended. But they’ve since been sent from pillar to post.
Farmer Rita Van Ross says, “As we read between the lines, we understand that we are going to be evacuated from this farm. We don’t know where; we don’t know what to do. So, we are taking further action.”
Farmer Johannes Leeuw says, “One government department gave us a grant, but without a contract they can’t approve our application or assist us in any way. That’s why we need this contract so badly, so that we can go about our business.”
The farmers say the municipality is sidelining them in favour of mining and game farming on the land.
The municipality has denied this, saying it’s attending to the issue.
Ditlakong Municipality Mayor Dimakatso Mbizeni says, ” As the municipality we will take the item to council so we must approve it so that they must get extension of leasing.”
The union wants the local and provincial governments to intervene, as farmers in other parts of the province may find themselves in the same predicament.
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