Farm dwellers demand land

2018-03-02 06:00
PHOTO: khaya magenuFarm workers attend a meeting to demand land from the municipality.

PHOTO: khaya magenuFarm workers attend a meeting to demand land from the municipality.

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IT is a tough life for the homeless.

“We don’t have a place that we can call home and we fear that when we die we don’t know where they will bury our remains.”

This was a cry from farm workers around Kokstad after a meeting was convened with them and Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor Bheki Mtolo, speaker Zolani Mhlongo and the SAPS.

The meeting, held in front of the Kokstad Town Hall last Friday afternoon, was attended mostly by women who work on farms.

They said that they would not leave the town hall yard until the mayor and speaker identify land for them that they can call their own.

They insisted that they do not want the municipality to built low-cost houses in town, but instead should purchase a farm for them.

Ntombekhaya Baleni said they are demanding that the municipality buy land for them so that they can build their own dwellings.

She said she was born and bred on a farm and she does not have another home that she knows, but lately they have been battling to bury their family members on the farms they have lived on.

“I have no place that I call home because I am staying on a farm belonging to someone. I have built a mud room and it has no electricity. When it rains, the rain comes through the holes and wets everything,” said Baleni.

She said they feel homeless because when the farmers evict them they have nowhere to go.

Zikhona Mfukuli, like her parents, was also born on a farm. She said her mother was kicked off a farm when she was no longer able to work.

“It is hard to trace our grandparents’ grave sites on farms because we do not own the land,” she said.

Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor Bheki Mtolo asked for calm as the municipality is busy engaging with the Department of Land Affairs to buy land.

“We have indentified three farms for our community and I am pleading you to give us more time,” said the mayor. The local farmers’ association could not be reached for comment.


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