THE NEVER-ENDING STRUGGLE OF FARM DWELLERS IN BEESTEKRAAL IN SAKHISIZWE LOCAL MUNICIPALITY
The struggle for farm dwellers continues 27 years into democracy as the farmers in the Beestekraal farming area disregard the various rights of farm dwellers. Beestekraal consists of about 31 farms that are since the 1980s owned by African farmers. Some of the farmers are beneficiaries of land reform as they were offered the opportunity of taking over the state farms they occupied on leasehold. The government offered the farmers the opportunity of acquiring the farms without consideration of future of the farm dwellers.
The Nikani family in Lillydale Farm in the Beestekraal area is one of the families of farm dwellers. The family has lost the father of the household. When maMkhuma Nikani reported the death to the farmer – Mr Maphukatha – she was told not to bury her husband on the farm. The farmer told MaMkhuma to go and look for land for burial either in Ugie or wherever. This comes five months after the April family had a similar experience when they were denied burial rights after the fatal shooting of their two members.
Although the family is going ahead with preparations for the burial, the mood is tense as it is unclear what the farmer would do. In a meeting of Siyazakha Land and Development Forum held with the family and other farm dwellers in Lillydale Farm on 17 May, it was resolved that the funeral will go ahead on 29 May in defiance of the farmer’s instruction.
The case of farm dwellers is an indictment to the ruling party’s failed land reform programme. As indicated above, the government overlooked the farm dwellers as beneficiaries of land reform when the farms were offered to the farmers.
The Cala University Students Association (CALUSA) and Siyazakha call upon the farmers in Beestekraal farms to stop violating the land and burial rights of farm dwellers as provided in the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA). We also demand that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform speedily provide land to the farm dwellers as a solution to their continued harassment.
Issued and endorsed by:
Cala University Students Association (CALUSA)
Siyazakha Land Rights Development Forum
For comments, contact:
Dr Fani Ncapayi
082 440 6067