Dec 8, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

MPs hear tales of abuse of farm dwellers by farmers, mines

A delegation of parliamentarians heard allegations that some farmers in Mpumalanga forbade farmers to keep livestock, poisoned water and pastures, shot people and stole animals belonging to farmers.

There were also Hundreds of families across the province who could be evicted from their lands by mining companies and farmers.

The delegation, which visited the province over the weekend, aims to direct these allegations of abuse, evictions and crime against farm residents by the authorities to be investigated.

She also wants urgent action to prevent human rights violations.

The Joint Parliamentary Delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and The Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labor conducted an inspection visit to Nkangala and Gert Sibande districts of the province.

The purpose of the visit was to assess the living condition ment on the farms.

The delegation visited the Sindane family, who are locked in a legal battle with mining giant Exxaro after the company bought the farm where the family lives has lived for more than 60 years.

The delegation said the mining company tried to evict the family from the farm but they are challenging the eviction order and they now live surrounded by mining operations.

The Sindane family told the Parliamentary delegation that they want fair compensation for the eviction.

While the legal battle drags on, the mine continues to operate and this poses a safety and health risk to the family and their livestock as they face explosions and their water source for their animals is poisoned by the mine’s effluent, the delegation said.

The delegation also heard that the Sindane family is not the is the only one facing this problem.

According to the local NGO Vulamehlo Sekusile, about 500 families in the province are in a similar situation and are fighting against evictions by mining companies and farmers.

Mandla Mandela, Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, condemned the injustice and inhumane treatment of farm dwellers and the failure to handle eviction issues fairly.

“Mining companies make billions, but it is cut short when it comes to compensating people; it’s not fair,” Mandela said.

In Piet Retief, MPs said they were appalled by the story of the Hadebe family, who have lived in a local council house for almost 13 years after they were moved from a farm evicted on which the family had lived for more than 100 years.

Their livestock were stolen, their crops and seeds destroyed and they were shot at during the eviction.

Heard during public meetings the delegation accused farmers of destroying graves or removing remains to rebury them in mass graves without following legal procedures for grave relocation.

Other families say that the farmers they found them in these areas and set up farms on their ancestral land.

Some of these farms are the subject of land claims with the Land Rights Restoration Commission.

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