Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Caucus Leader
Three Gauteng Government Departments have ducked the question of providing title deeds for 138 emerging farmers who were promised these more than 10 years ago.
Gauteng Local Government MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said today in response to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature that a service provider needed to be appointed to process and reconcile information in order to issue the title deeds.
Last week Agriculture MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said that the Public Protector’s report on this matter was due in July.
Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu said today that her department had nothing to do with it, although it is responsible for managing state land and was involved with leases that these farmers signed.
The three departments were all involved with the Gauteng Farmer Support Programme (GFSP) which started with 254 black farmers who were given three year leases on farms in the west rand and south Johannesburg.
They were promised title deeds in 2002, but nothing happened despite more promises over the years.
It appears that documents were lost when the Infrastructure Development Department was formed after public works was separated from the Transport Department.
Survey information was once available for the 138 farmers who now qualify for title deeds in terms of this scheme, so there is no excuse for delay except incompetence and a lack of political will.
Their lives have been ruined as they cannot get loans to improve their farms without title deeds.
It’s a real scandal that a service provider is still to be appointed to sort out issues that should have been resolved long ago.
It shows that land reform is not taken seriously by this provincial government.
The DA will continue to pressure the provincial government to issue the title deeds as part of our “Land to the People” campaign for best use to be made of state-owned land in Gauteng.
The provincial government should also pay compensation for the unjustified delays that have ruined the lives of these farmers who should have been contributing productively to our economy.