Farms worth R46 mln collapse

2010-06-17 00:00

MORE than R46 million worth of agricultural land held by the Slindokuhle Community trust in Weenen is in jeopardy as the trust is disintegrating owing to internal fighting.

The trust is made up of eight farms that it received in 2007 through the land restitution programme and it holds the land on behalf of several communities.

Three of the farms had an estimated value of R42 million at the time they were bought.

The farms previously produced food, including oranges, potatoes and cabbages, and employed a number of people from the community.

However, five of the farms have since collapsed and only three are productive, producing oranges and game farming. The three farms were leased to commercial farmers.

Last month, during a community meeting in Weenen, the community took a decision to split the trust into several smaller trusts with each farm having its own trust.

During the heated exchanges, the current chairperson of the trust, Ndoshi Masoka, was assaulted in full view of a representative of the Land Affairs Department by community members who accused him of selling their land.

Masoka had apparently spearheaded the campaign to lease the three farms and was in the process of leasing a fourth one.

He confirmed that he was assaulted.

Masoka blames infighting among trust members on poor education and lack of foresight.

“When we received the land from the department, we had planned to use it for business development and community farming, but today none of that is happening and the only productive farms are the ones we leased. The rest have turned into soccer fields.”

Nokuthokoza Ndlela, the spokesperson for the Provincial Land Claims Commission, said the commission had invested more than R46 million with the Slindokuhle Community Trust.

She confirmed that the community has resolved to dissolve the trust.









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