Initially the Department of Land Affairs informed us about playing a role in the formulation of the land use plan but later on, informed us about having contracted someone to assist us in achieving this, resulting in exclusion of the community’s involvement in the process.
At completion of this plan, it was presented to our community’s committee where community members discovered some statements to be unfounded and not true. The community then asked AFRA for assistance in formulation of their plan which they divided into three phases: previous, current and future.
This is where the whole community shared their views and ideas and were quite impressed by their contribution in formulating this plan. As the chairperson of Gongolo committee, I was impressed by full cooperation of all members of the community, as the government had previously excluded the community in this process, which was about them as the people who reside and are affected by the plan in this area. Government had formulated a plan for the people but surprisingly excluded the very same people and their views in the process.
It really hurts me to see our community being excluded and not invited to IDP (Integrated Development Plan) meetings, which raises a question of how municipalities plan to develop communities if they exclude them and their land use plan they had formulated. The community is happy with their plan as it states exactly what they want to be done in their communities including the IDP, and AFRA gave them freedom to express their views while formulating this plan.
I would like to see government’s full commitment to working together with communities in their own development and to avoid what happened in Gongolo community where government just went ahead and formulated the plan and excluding the community, which resulted in getting false information regarding crops and stock farming in the area. We would also like to see government adopting and honouring this land use plan because it presents the real needs of the community in Gongolo.
Gongolo community meeting on Land Use Planning. Photo by Lisa del Grande