Claimants march to demand farm land

Yoliswa Sobuwa

HUNDREDS of small-scale farmers and land claimants from areas surrounding Port Elizabeth marched to the Agriculture Department in the city yesterday demanding access to land, along with the provision of post-settlement support, and the reopening of restitution for those who were left out of the process.

The farmers from towns in the Sundays River Valley and Kouga municipalities – including Addo, Paterson, Glenconnor, Hankey, Patensie and Loerie – joined those from KwaNobuhle in marching from Uitenhage Road to the department’s Somers Road office in Sydenham.

Singing revolutionary songs, they also carried placards, including one which read: “We can’t wait till the grave for our land”.

The protest was organised by the Makukhanye Rural Movement, an umbrella body of small farmers’ associations, claimants, farm dwellers and development initiatives.

In a memorandum handed over to the department, the farmers demanded that:

  • The department acquire land next to Addo communities owned by white farmers;

  • Addo Elephant Park gives them Addo Heights – pockets of land near the park – for grazing;

  • The Gamtoos Irrigation Board be transformed and an investigation be conducted into why it has not yet been transformed; and

  • Farmers be compensated for stock losses they suffered as a result of apartheid’s forced removals in Uitenhage.

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