DA to reach out to Eastern Cape agricultural cooperative unlawfully evicted from farm by the ANC government

Issued by Thandeka Mbabama MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
07 Nov 2022 in News

Please find attached English and isiXhosa soundbites by Thandeka Mbabama MP.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken the decision to reach out to the Nonkebhotani Agricultural Primary Cooperative which was unlawfully evicted during the height of Covid-19 from Hopefield Farm, a state farm in the Eastern Cape, by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) with the blessing of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (DALRRD).

The agricultural cooperative had been on the farm for 20 years and evicting them during the height of Covid-19 was patently illegal because a moratorium had been placed on all evictions by the ANC government. In our intervention, we are asking that:

  • DALRRD must compensate the agricultural community for the R1.8 million in livestock, grain, equipment and, ultimately, their livelihoods that they lost during the eviction;
  • DALRRD must urgently assist the agricultural cooperative with finding alternative farm where they can lease and continue with their agricultural operations.

It is simply unacceptable that, at a time when rural communities are trying to build agricultural enterprises to sustain themselves and escape unemployment, the ANC government will destroy their businesses and send them back to poverty.

Hopefield Farm, about 20 km outside Komani in the Eastern Cape, is a state-owned farm that had been lying fallow when Nonkebhotani Agricultural Cooperative started utilising the land to eke out a living after reaching an agreement with the DALRRD.

On 26 June 2021, the cooperative was unceremoniously and unlawfully evicted from the farm by a government-contracted security company with neither prior warning nor a court order. Among the losses incurred by the cooperative are livestock, grain, equipment and their entire livelihoods.

The ANC government should hang its head in shame for making false commitments to land reform while busy evicting emerging farmers from thriving enterprises. In flouting its own Covid-19 regulations, especially the moratorium placed on evictions during the pandemic, the ANC-led government not only demonstrated unspeakable spitefulness and unwarranted malice, but violated a fundamental constitutional imperative of giving emerging farmers access to land.

With the rising cost of living and soaring food prices, it is scandalous that emerging farmers are being harassed and hounded off the land by the ANC government. The DA is ready for the rights of the Nonkebhotani Agricultural Primary Cooperative by ensuring that they get fair compensation for the losses that they incurred and putting pressure on the DAALRD to provide them with an alternative farm to continue with their agricultural activities.