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State-owned land of more than 90 000 hectares available in Mpumalanga, but bribes and corruption will ensure that only cadres and elite benefit

The Department of Agriculture has indicated that a total of 90 600 hectares of state-owned land will be made available for leasing in Mpumalanga in an attempt to address the land issue and offer a compromise on expropriation without compensation (EWC).

In a press release dated 1 October 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Thoko Didiza, announced that there are 90 600 hectares of unused land in the Mpumalanga province that will be leased to persons who qualify. Only black, coloured and Indian individuals are allowed to apply.

The FF Plus in Mpumalanga welcomes the fact that state-owned land is being set aside for this purpose, but considers the criteria for applicants to be counter-productive, racist and in contravention of the country's Constitution.

According to media reports, it appears that bribery and corruption in the Department could result in the land being used to financially benefit the ANC elite and to obtain support for the ruling party.

According to a recent report on emerging farmers who have been lawfully farming on state-owned land for quite some time in the Pixley Ka Seme Municipality, the farmers are being driven off the state farms because they refuse to pay bribes to public officials.

On a state farm between Ermelo and Piet Retief, an emerging farmer told the FF Plus that an official demanded a bribe of R250 000 to allow the individual to keep farming and to keep receiving aid from the government.

The FF Plus will send an official letter to Vusi Shongwe, Mpumalanga MEC for Agriculture and Land, requesting a thorough investigation into the allegations against the public officials.

The FF Plus in Mpumalanga is of the opinion that that expropriation without compensation is unnecessary given how much land the government owns and also that the land owned by the government should be used to contribute to food security.

Contact details: 084 652 9164 / 076 687 2830

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