Minister engages farmers on evictions

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza — together with the Mpumalanga MEC of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, Mandla Msibi has met with farmers and farmer organisations to discuss farm lease agreements, among other issues.

Issues discussed include farm lease agreements that have not been renewed following the moratorium in 2013; alleged non-compliance with lease agreements and tensions between farmers and labour tenants.

Additionally, the issues of tension among farmers who were made to share farms without proper rules and clear demarcations, as well as alleged corruption from departmental officials, were discussed.

The meeting reflected on these issues that need to be corrected in order to resolve the challenges.

It was therefore agreed that:

• All eviction letters that were served om farmers be withdrawn.

• A team from the Property Management Unit of the DALRRD (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) will be based in Mpumalanga for a period of two weeks and meet with all farmers, whose leases have not been finalised.

• The MEC will convene a meeting with farmer organisations within three weeks on post-settlement support and agricultural development support.

• The MEC will meet with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to look at the functionality of CPAs (Communal Property Associations) and trusts and on how to assist them.

• The meeting agreed that the department must speed up the title deeds process until the Fala (Financial Land Assistance) land procedures are concluded.