File picture: Zhou Liangjun/Xinhua

JOHANNESBURG – The Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda rural movement supports the recent Land Claims Court judgment and order instructing the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) to release long-delayed land restitution funds back to the Keiskammahoek communities in the nine villages of Lower Gxulu, Upper Gxulu, Upper Mnyameni, Lower Mnyameni, Upper Ngqumeya, Gwiligwili, Ndlovini, Ngobozana and Mthwaku. 

As a Keiskammahoek-based grassroots movement that mobilises for land reform, land rights and participatory rural democracy we call on the ADM to respect this court decision and release these funds without any further delay. 

Should there be a further delay in this regard beyond December 31, 2018, we will call for sustained mass action to continue pressure on the ADM.

The ADM has over 15 years frustrated the hopes and aspirations of the communities by failing to honor its commitment to collaborate prudently and accountably with the land reform beneficiaries and owners of the funds to ensure development in the above villages. 

In an even more tragic case, the communities of Dwesa and Cwebhe are subjected to this same experience by the same municipality since 2001.

It is our view as Ntinga that such is not an isolated case of corruption and blatant disregard of the needs of rural people who are the majority voters in this province. 

This behavior characterises a pattern of the ANC government and private entities in looting the resources of poor people in the fashion of the well-recorded fraud and corruption Cash Payment Services contract for social security grant payments, the VBS bank heist, lack of accountability in funds transferred to the Bakgatla ba Kgafela, and in how government colludes with private interestts to oppose and terrorise the people of Xholobeni who have clearly demonstrated their desire not to have their land subjected to toxic mining activities. 

The experience of the rural people is now clear: the government only comes to steal, to kill and destroy.  It is common cause that since 2009 the government has overseen the killing of activists, stolen and destroyed more than R500 billion worth of South Africa’s economy and is currently destroying the values and principles that guided our people’s heroic struggle for democracy.

Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda demands that communities be given space to drive their own development initiatives led by democratically elected structures of governance. In this regard Ntinga supports the communities’ demand for a forensic audit of ADM to determine the usage of the funds since 2002. 

Further, that the funds must be deposited in a banking account identified and controlled by the communities. Currently land reform is not a function of local government hence the expectation that a municipality would support land reform beneficiaries is misplaced. 

Ntinga is watching vigilantly and aims to defeat the continuing attempts by the Eastern Cape government to support and impose unpopular and illegitimate traditional leaders upon the people of Keiskammahoek.

Keiskammahoek under the Amahlathi Local Municipality is a hellhole of poverty and destitution with huge infrastructure backlogs. There are still no answers to the demands of the more than 35 communities of Keiskammahoek that rose up in March to May 2018 to demand service delivery and accountable governance. 

The only answer that the government has is to force undemocratic and unaccountable traditional leaders onto rural communities in the formers apartheid Bantustans.

Ntinga says no to the culture of swindling communities and looting their resources under the guise of land reform. A more transparent and responsive mechanism must be established to oversee the implementation of the proposed land expropriation process. 

It has been two years since the Land Claims Court scrapped the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Actas unconstitutional. We call upon the government to promulgate a new legislation to cater for the outstanding betterment removal land claims in the former Bantustans. We continue with our work of ongoing mass mobilisation to put forward the demands of rural people.

Content supplied by The Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda rural movement.

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