4November 2008Community restructuring in Amajuba district
Community restructuring in Amajuba districtI wish to express my views about the work AFRA does with farm dwellers at Amajuba District. Current plans to improve our living conditions are still discriminating even under the democratic government.
Firstly as farm dwellers, we are discriminated again by the local government structures which sideline us because we reside on privately owned land and that raises a question of what is democracy all about? This discrimination means that our lives are at other people’s mercy when it comes to development. My example is that of Amajuba District’s IDP and AFLED structures where all government departments meet to discuss community development issues including those of farm dwellers, without informing them. The only thing they then get is what the farm dwellers bill says, but they were never consulted or invited to make submissions by government and municipalities.
This programmes we are embarking on in association with AFRA, contribute to improving our lives as farm dwellers and we are delighted to know that we have NGO’s like AFRA who are able to listen to us as farm dwellers. I am confident that if farm dwellers are given the opportunity to say their views, the government will recognise and respect us as citizens in South Africa.
This is why we are currently establishing our community development plan in the Amajuba District because we are fed up with all those people speaking on our behalf.
Most of the time, we engage in talks with the municipality to state our views. We have been involved in the IDP’s (Integrated Development Plans) for years and things are still the same. What we have suggested is the key for farm dwellers to access services to different government departments. I hope meeting reports of all the meetings we have had with AFRA since 2007 reach the people and that they are aware of our views as farm dwellers and we do not want to be clustered in Agri villages.
We also want local government to listen to our views as our struggle continues. We want to be developed like other citizens we see on media reaching farm dwellers.
The situation on farms in the Amajuba District remains unchanged. Photo by Isaac Sibeko