Gauteng Land Reform Beneficiaries Left in the Lurch

Ina Cilliers DA Gauteng Spokesperson: Economic Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs
March 10, 2015

Sixty families who were supposed to benefit from the 637 hectare Thusanang farm, situated in Merafong, are still waiting for this land reform project to become a viable operation.Cilliers-Ina1

In the mid-2000’s, when Merafong was still part of the North West Province, the then provincial government invested millions of rands in establishing this project – with the expectation of creating viable small scale farming.

When Merafong was incorporated in to Gauteng 2009, this project was lost under the radar.

As time has gone by, broiler houses, water tanks and fencing has been stolen while the crash pen has been damaged, rendering it unusable.

In reply to a written question I posed to the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, it has been revealed that despite this farm belonging to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) for nearly six years, funding of R1.5 million was only secured from the National Department of Development and Land Reform last year.

80% of this funding was spent on conducting feasibility studies in to the suitability of the land on which the farm is located – remarkable considering that the North West Provincial Government conducted these studies before initially purchasing the land.

Currently, there are no sanitation, ablution and accommodation facilities for these farmers to make use of.

In his reply, the MEC makes no mention of investing in infrastructure to ensure that working conditions are acceptable or that accommodation is developed to house these farmers.

It is unacceptable that nearly ten years on, this farm and the beneficiaries of this project are still in a state of limbo.

There has been a complete breakdown in relations between project beneficiaries and GDARD officials.

MEC Maile must prioritise this farm if it is to be a success; otherwise he is setting these beneficiaries up for failure.

Failure to do so will fly in the face of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s vision to grow agriculture in the province.

Media enquiries:

Ina Cilliers MPL

DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong

060 556 4344

 

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