By Bosman Grobler MPL, Spokesperson on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs:
The DA in Mpumalanga welcomes the court order instructing Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, to take back land that was given to a controversial trust and to review the claim.
The validity of the Ndwandwa Community Trust Claim which involved 105 farms worth R51 million in the Badplaas area has been questioned since it was instituted more than 10 years ago. This claim saw farms being transferred to the Trust amid allegations of fake beneficiaries and hugely inflated land prices.
During the time that this land claim was filed, current Mpumalanga Premier, David Mabuza, was the MEC for Agriculture in the province. Although his office has denied his involvement in this land claim, his name continued to come up.
As MEC, Mabuza, should have been able to see the discrepancies with the valuation of the land and prevent the government from being duped into purchasing overpriced land.
It is concerning that over the past few years almost every dodgy land deal that has surfaced in the province has made reference to Premier Mabuza’s involvement.
Corruption within the agriculture and land administration sector has marred the legitimate plight of South Africans to receive their rightful compensation after they were displaced by the apartheid government.
Dodgy land deals are detrimental to the economy of the province and the country because all too often;
- Land that was productive is left fallow and no longer productive;
- Agricultural infrastructure gets stripped and sold for its scrap value;
- Thousands of people who are employed in tourism or agriculture lose their jobs;
- Opportunities to create employment vanish as planned projects fail.
This once again shows that the current government has little regard for the thousands of skilled people sitting without employment.
By rooting out the seeds of corruption and making meaningful investments in sectors that are known to provide employment for the majority of rural dwellers, the DA can alleviate poverty and create much needed jobs.
The DA calls for the release of the report on the forensic investigation into this land deal that was instituted by former Land Affairs Minister, Thoko Didiza. We believe that this report holds the key to exposing those involved in the scam and ensuring that they take accountability for their actions.