Desiree van der Walt MPL
DA Leader Limpopo Province
The march yesterday by land reform beneficiaries of the Ratsaka community in Soekmekaar is just a tip of the iceberg in the number of collapsing land reform projects in Limpopo. I will be writing to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr. Nkwinti to urge him to intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that this and many other projects in similar conditions in Limpopo are resuscitated.
The regrettable part about the Soekmekaar matter is that it cost approximately R52 million to purchase these farms for the benefit of the community. The reports are that out of 45 portions of farms that were bought; only 3 are in business now. This is apparently the reason why the community staged a march for the disbandment of the Morebene Communal Property Association (CPA). There are further allegations that financial statements of those farms have never been audited, that some of the farm equipments have been illegally removed.
Minister Nkwinti, in his intervention, must ensure that there now is a properly structured skills transfer programme between the previous owners and the land beneficiaries, that there is sufficient base of financial management skills among the beneficiaries to run these farms as successful businesses.
Up to now farms have been transferred to beneficiaries who do not show any identifiable interest in farming, and without any proper programme in place to make sure that these new land owners acquire the necessary skills to run farming business.
The Democratic Alliance is committed to a sustainable land reform as one of the meaningful ways of achieving economic redress. Land beneficiaries must be properly skilled so that we have a thriving agricultural sector to guarantee food security in the province and as a contributor to employment creation.