Chairperson stays put

2017-05-31 06:01
Violence erupted on Wednesday (24/05). Vehicles were damaged by beneficiaries of the Droogfontein Farm who complained about the lack of transparency by the Droogfontein Communal Property Association (CPA) and the high youth unemployment rate within the Droogfontein community.Photo: Facebook

Violence erupted on Wednesday (24/05). Vehicles were damaged by beneficiaries of the Droogfontein Farm who complained about the lack of transparency by the Droogfontein Communal Property Association (CPA) and the high youth unemployment rate within the Droogfontein community.Photo: Facebook

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The Droogfontein Communal Property Association’s (CPA) chairperson, Thabo Modupe, stands firm that he is going nowhere until he is voted out in a constitutional process by the community who elected and re-elected him.

This follows the violent protests by some beneficiaries of the Droogfontein Farm last week Modupe and his family had to flee during the early hours of the morning from their home in Riverton because of the violence.

The community accused Modupe and the CPA secretary, Nkaelang Mamapula, of mismanagement of funds and gambling with the community’s royalties for their own benefit.

They further accused the CPA of failing to be transparent in the activities involving farming and mining on the communal farm, including financial reports.

The violence erupted on Wednesday (24/05). Vehicles were da­maged by angry protesters, who also complained about the high youth unemployment rate in the Droogfontein community.

Their anger was sparked by the R1,3 million grazing land deal, made by Modupe, of which the community felt that they were unaware.

The beneficiaries stopped the deal, which led to court interdicts filed against at least nine community members.

Furthermore, the beneficiaries stopped the mining operating process, citing that it was one of Modupe’s personal gains.

“I cannot step down due to pressure from a few disgruntled families. I am not going to succumb to their demands and aspirations. They must follow the correct processes and not seek attention if they want to remove me,” Modupe said.

He is not shaken by the fact that the MEC of Rural Development and Agriculture, Norman Shushu, is expected to intervene in their land disputes.

This follows after the mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Mangaliso Matika, managed to calm the situation and promised intervention.

“Shushu cannot dictate to the CPA what to do. All he can do is to be the mediator, as this is CPA land,” he said.

According to Modupe, the farm has never been in a safer place than after the CPA committee was re-elected in 2015, managing to save it from the risk of being attached to debt.

He said when they were voted into power for the first term, they adopted debt of R21 million. The CPA was then tasked to raise funds to save them from the risk of being attached to a commercial farmer.

Regarding the unemployment rate that they are accused of doing nothing about, Modupe commented that the CPA is not a government department or the municipality.

“Our role is to make money through opportunities. We never had an opportunity where we employed masses, except during the solar project, when over 400 people were employed until the project was completed.”

He said that only a few skilled labourers are on the site, which is run by a private company.

“We are only a 4% shareholder of the project. We expect another leg of the project to start at a later stage, of which community members will be given first preference on jobs.”

Modupe blamed individuals for interfering in measures of genera­ting income for the community. He regretted this and mentioned that a R1,3 million deal was lost due to that.

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