The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development concluded its monitoring visit to Gwatyu with a session with the Provincial and National Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ALRRD) and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. After hearing the views of all stakeholders during the week, the committee felt that the various departments involved needed an opportunity to respond to issues raised in meetings held with the King and other authorities. traditional and during the public hearing.
The committee informed the Department of ALRRD that a multi-faceted approach was needed to resolve the issues in Gwatyu. It should examine existing laws and policy frameworks and work with haste to break the impasse. This must be done to avoid legal action against her. After meeting the group of beneficiaries who have formed an association, the committee informed the department that it had to meet these beneficiaries to find an amicable solution. These beneficiaries also have ownership rights to the land.
The committee further advised the department to obtain the chieftaincy certificate for the Gwatyu region and to check the registers to determine the allocation of land to the amaTshatshu traditional authority and other beneficiaries. The department must also check whether the title deeds for the area have been handed over to any of the beneficiaries. The department needs to familiarize itself with Judge Heath’s report and determine if there are any resolutions that need to be implemented.
The committee encouraged the department to consider job creation in the region. The Department of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development must mobilize other departments to provide services such as water, electricity and closed roads for the benefit of communities living in Gwatyu. Programs such as Narysec and National Youth Development Agency programs will enable young people to acquire skills and become employable.
The President, Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandela warned the Department that they are operating in the space of traditional authorities. Although the farms belong to the department, the land is on Amashatshu land. The Department must collaborate with traditional authorities when conducting the land survey and must respect the role of traditional leaders.
The committee also informed the ministry that it needs to look into why those who had rented farms have stopped paying since 1998. Have they stopped paying because the ministry is seeking to evict them or is the ministry will hand over the land to them, said the president asked.
The ministry must regularly inform the committee of the progress of its interventions and of the land survey.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.