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NO PLACE FOR CRIMINALITY IN LAND REFORM

Parliament, Monday, 8 July 2019 –

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development condemns in the strongest terms the criminal acts arising from the recent attack and invasion of a 7 500-hectare farm in KwaZulu-Natal, valued at over R300 million.

Of concern is that the farm manager was assaulted and subsequently hospitalised. It is also alleged that there is a division within the Mathulini Communal Property Association (CPA) at Mtwalume where a certain group of people had approached the Land Claims Court over claims to the same land. The Chairperson of the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Committee, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, said: “There are sufficient provisions in the land reform process to deal with disputes and counter claims. Such claims still have full recourse to procedural justice and other legal provisions. We cannot condone acts of criminality as these do not advance the process of land reform or restitution. Such vile acts are not only uncalled for, but also further diminish the integrity of claims or counter claims.

“We appeal for calm and call for a criminal investigation into this incident so that the culprits may face the full might of the law. Whilst we understand that the land restitution process is highly emotive and tied to the trauma, pain and suffering arising from historic dispossession, we can never allow violence to define a process that is intended to be restorative, healing and advancing reconciliation and social cohesion. We appeal to all individuals and communities involved in land claims and restitution processes not to take the law into their own hands, regardless of the circumstances.

“We must also caution against political parties making cheap mileage out of a very volatile situation. We urge for maturity as irresponsible statements and grand standing will only ferment a cycle of acrimony, criminality and violence. We must do all in our power to stem illegal farm invasions and ensure that such acts of criminality do not derail the legitimate process of restitution, nor cause hardship and suffering to the rightful beneficiaries of such claims.”

In the 5th Parliament, Parliament amended the Communal Property Association Act in order to enable government departments to make interventions to address internal conflicts within CPAs. The Office of the Registrar of CPAs, envisaged in the amended legislation, will have adequate resources and capacity to make interventions and resolve conflicts which are often the reason for the existence of concerned groups within CPAs.

In terms of the 2019/20 budget that the committee has been processing, it is understood the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) plans to ensure that 443 CPAs are assisted as a matter of priority to be compliant with the legislation, in terms of accountability, term of office for office bearers, and upholding their respective constitutions.

The Committee urges the DRDLR to ensure that this CPA – Mathulini Communal Property Association is included as a priority matter, and be assisted to resolve their issues. The committee will follow up with the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to ensure that this CPA and others in a similar position are assisted to ensure the smooth functioning of the CPA.

ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE

CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, LAND

REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, NKOSI ZWELIVELILE MANDELA.

For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the

Committee’s Media Officer:

Name: Sureshinee Govender

Parliamentary Communication Services

Tel: 021 403 2239

Cell: 081 704 1109

E-mail: sugovender@parliament.gov.za