Ajax farm beneficiaries up in arms over sale of sites to outsiders by committee members

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Beneficiaries of Ajax farm in Piet Retief have accused the committee responsible for allocating stands of unlawfully selling them and overlooking beneficiaries.

They claim the committee sells sites to outsiders – without the consent of beneficiaries. The farm was bought by the Land Affairs and Rural Development Department – on behalf of the community adjacent to the farm.

More than 100 beneficiaries of Ajax farm in the Mkhondo municipality accuse the committee of corruption. Beneficiaries blame the committee members for selling land to outsiders.

The piece of land was bought by the Land Affairs and Rural Development Department for the settlement of farm dwellers who work on nearby farms.

The farm dwellers live in a compound adjacent to the farm. The land was to be transferred to the municipality for human settlement development – but this process has been delayed. Some of the beneficiaries are disappointed about the alleged illegal sale of land on the farm.

Interventions by the ward councillor and the headman proved futile as the sales continue. Some of the leaders were also threatened by the people who are allegedly selling the sites.

It is alleged that people, who come from as far as KwaZulu-Natal, have also bought sites.

Ward 8 Councillor, David Lushaba, says he approached the department several times for intervention — but to no avail.

“There’s no one has right to give other people stands. It’s only the department must guide us but unfortunately, they run away from us until today so I decided to excuses myself from this issues because there some threats against myself even now I’m scared as I’m standing here they say this councillor is one of the people who refuse to give people land stuff.”

The Department of Land Affairs and Rural Development confirms that land was purchased in 2016 on behalf of the community. And, the department insists that no one – including committee members – has the right to sell sites on the land.

Gert Sibande Land Affairs District Director, Patrick Lukhele says, “The farm known as Ajax in Mkhondo Municipality was acquired at a value of R8.3 million through proactive land requisition strategy. Land requisition strategy is a strategy where the government buys the land. The reason the farm was bought was to help the community that is threatened with evictions. The plan is to donate the land to Mkhondo Municipality. The department has been made aware of the invaders and the department would work with Mkhondo Municipality through the necessary legal framework.”

The committee was approached for comment – but declined to respond to allegations levelled against its members.