WATCH: Eastern Cape farmers, cattle march to municipality offices demanding grazing land

2018-12-13 21:51

Farmers from the Eastern Cape's Komani, formerly Queenstown, are demanding land for grazing. 

On Wednesday the group marched along with their cattle to the Enoch Mgijima municipal offices. The march brought the town's main road, Cathcart Road, to a total standstill, resulting in the municipality scheduling a meeting for Thursday. 

The farmers were demanding grazing land from the municipality, with fencing for the safety of their livestock.

Komani Farmers Association chairperson Zola Magoqoza said farmers had for the longest time experienced problems with overgrazing which was a result of overcrowding of cattle in small camps.

"Where we keep our cattle there is also no form of fencing and our cattle go to the road which leads to them being detained by the municipality," Magoqoza said. 

Magoqoza said their issues preceded the merging of the Lukhanji, Tsolwana and Inkwanca local municipalities into the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality after the 2016 elections. 

Meeting planned for February

He said the municipality had promised that it would look into their demands prior to the elections, but they never received any feedback. This frustration led to Wednesday's march to the council chambers. 

"We have tried to reach out to the municipality saying we wanted feedback on our demands. It was difficult to get through to the municipality up until we wrote a letter requesting permission to stage a protest march. 

"We then decided to go to the streets with our cattle so that they would see our problem," Magoqoza said. 

He said Thursday's meeting with the acting municipal manager, Donovan Van Wyk, resulted in them reaching an understanding in which the municipality agreed to assist with grazing land.  

"The municipality has got camps we are supposed to lease so that our cattle can utilise them. However, we cannot use those camps because, firstly, they are being used by people with no agreement with the municipality," Magoqoza said. 

Van Wyk said a task team would be formed and would ensure that there were grazing camps that would have water, fencing and enough grass for farmers to use. 

"We came to an understanding where we will meet again in February. There will be a working committee that will meet before the February meeting to look at all the aspects around making more land available," Van Wyk said.

However, Magoqoza said not all their demands were met as the municipality said they had not been budgeted for. However, they would wait for February's meeting for solutions. 

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  service delivery  |  protests

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