Landless frustrated with Land Reform

2012-10-24 00:00

THE Department of Rural Development and Land Reform came under heavy criticism yesterday as frustrated landless people laid the blame for their plight on its inability to settle land disputes.

A large group of members of the Abahlali Basemjondolo, the Landless People’s Movement and the Rural Network marched to the department’s offices to hand over a memorandum of their grievances.

Many travelled from as far as Durban, Eshowe, and Utrecht.

They said the office had failed on its mandate to deliver land to communities and needed a complete overhaul.

“This office is useless. It never does anything for the community, and it should undergo what is called renewal or renovations,” said Sthembiso Mahlaba of the Landless People’s Movement.

“We filed land claims years ago and those have been ignored by the officials. In the event that we do get that one farm from the many that we have claimed, the officials also keep saying they will lease it to us. The farm dwellers are never a concern for them,” said Mahlaba.

Pastor Sibusiso Mthethwa, a leader of the march, lambasted the department employees for their lack of compassion.

This after a small group of employees had abandoned their workstations and stood on the stairway and balcony to gawk and laugh at the protesters.

“These people are standing here behind us, laughing. They view what we are doing here as a big joke; they do not realise that we are here trying to express the pain that we are feeling.”

Mthethwa said it was shocking that after years of democracy, black people still found themselves marching to have their concerns addressed. “These [marchers] are the same people that vote. They are responsible for the local, provincial and the national governments, yet they find themselves neglected by that same government.”

He said the failure to address land issues had left communities, especially in rural areas, vulnerable to abuse.

“On the farms, people are still being evicted arbitrarily. They are not allowed to bury their people there, and children older than two are forced to move out of the farms.”

“In cities, those who lived in shacks were condemned to live in those conditions or in one-room houses that were not ideal for family habitation.”

Khetha Nzimande, the Acting Director at Land Reform, said the concerns raised would receive “the necessary attention”.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.