Broken promises by the Department of Land Affairs leads to a Sit-in - Gcina Shabalala, Chairperson, LPM, Mooi River
Mpofana community decided to stage a sit-in at the DLA offices in Pietermaritzburg. This community represented everybody who lodged a land claim.
We forcefully gate crashed DLA offices regarding land claims lodged in 1999. This sit-in was a result of the resolution that were taken on the 05th of February 2007. Below are the resolutions:
· All farms must be returned to the people and title deeds must be issued to the people.
· Money that the DLA used to purchase farms from the traditional authority areas must be returned to the people of the chief.
· We demand to know the names of people where farmers have denied their labour tenant status.
All of the above agreements were not fulfilled by the DLA as result the Mpofana community decided to stage a sit-in. This sit-in unearthed a number of issues. We unearthed that there is very little that the DLA has been doing regarding our claims as they do not even know as how many residents are per farm. They do not know numbers of people who lodged claims as well as those who did not. I do not doubt that DLA officials are lazy, as they are not up to date about our claims.
Immediately after that sit-in a resolution was taken that a committee that will scrutinize claims lodged must be constituted before the end of the month. This committee shall be made of the department itself, farmers association and the community representatives, this was also not fulfilled. Land was not returned to the people.
It became clear to us that the department is not doing enough regarding our claims and our land. Despite all our struggle people are continuously being harassed and farmers with some police officers are charging our children for trespass. Now is the time for us to take back our land. If we keep quite our land will never be returned.