“There will not be any evictions amid tensions” Didiza

Farmers in Mpumalanga have appealed to the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Department to come up with ways of reducing tensions on farms. They made the appeal during a meeting between Minister Thoko Didiza and representatives of their unions in Ermelo.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss issues related to state-owned land leased to farmers. Apparently, some farmers in Mpumalanga received letters informing them that they would be evicted from state farms.
The farmers in question claim that this happened after they refused to pay R250 000 to certain officials in order for their lease contracts to be renewed. They also appealed to the Minister to take action against the officials who are accused of corruption. In response, Didiza assured them that they will not be evicted from the farms.
“There is not going to be any eviction and in any way of actions process in terms of state land, you’ll have to involve the Minister. And in this incident, those letters were not even given out with authorisation of the Minister. So we agreed that there is not going to be any eviction of the farmers, we are certain that in two weeks time, the team from the property unit in the Department of Agriculture will come down and all those farmers who have got issues around their leases we’ll meet at the department so that those issues are resolved,” said Didiza.
Farmers’ unions say the government should play a more active role when it comes to protecting the rights of the farmer dwellers. Motsepe Matlala, the president of the National African Farmers Union of South Africa, said it is wrong for farm owners to deny dwellers their basic rights.
“The Minister is of a view that there is no need for infighting and that we need to seat down with government to identify the real issues so that they can be attended to. The farm owners can not deny the basic rights of people who are staying on the farm. There must be demarcation and the farms needs to be divided and there must be an area demarcated for farm dwellers. There must be access for services that need to be rendered for the people on that farm,” said Matlala.

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