Farmer Ivan Cloete (left) tells his story to Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer. Picture supplied
Farmer Ivan Cloete (left) tells his story to Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer. Picture supplied

Controversy over Western Cape pig farmer’s relocation order

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Feb 19, 2021

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Cape Town - A controversy has arisen over an order to relocate 56-year-old pig farmer, Ivan Cloete, from state land in Swartland municipality, his third relocation by the state since 2013.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer has written to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Minister Thoko Didiza, asking the national government to stop the relocation.

Meyer claims that Cloete is being moved from his farm to make way for an MK veteran and that the move against Cloete “highlights the national government’s mismanagement of land reform.”

Meyer said: “Despite productively working the land for more than a year, Ivan Cloete now faces being evicted from a third farm, previously allocated to him by the Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) – with the latest eviction taking place to make way for a MK veteran.”

“Cloete is effectively being denied security of tenure on Colenso, despite having been moved from previous farms twice through no fault of his own, but rather due to DALRRD’s failure to implement and manage land reform projects under its responsibility,” said Meyer.

The DALRRD did not respond to the Argus’ queries on the matter, but ANC provincial spokesperson for Agriculture Pat Marran said: "In 2013, Mr Cloete was allocated Bellevue farm in partnership with Theophelus Sibeko. Differences between the two emerged and the department took Mr Cloete through a lease to a farm called Gelukwaarts where Mr Cloete was to farm with a Ms Nontando Ngxumeshe.”

“Again, tensions between him and Ms Ngxumeshe emerged as he felt his life was threatened. The department moved Mr Cloete to Colenso farm for his own safety. His lease is with Gelukwaarts, not Colenso. Mr Cloete will be given an alternative farm because Colenso was advertised for military veterans," said Marran.

Marran said: “What should happen is for Cloete to be returned to Gelukwaarts through a process facilitated by the department, or, he should hold the department accountable to its promise to allocate him another farm.”

“I will try to set up a meeting with deputy agriculture minister Mcebisi Skwatsha and see how the department can fast-track this particular matter,” said Marran.

Reached for comment, Cloete said: “My relocation to Colenso farm was not to go and hide or just for my safety, but to continue with my farming activities.”

“The agreement between myself and the department was that I will not have to be part of another beneficiary selection process. It was resolved as settling of a dispute and it would have only taken internal administrative processes to transfer my 30-year lease agreement for Gelukwaarts farm to Colenso farm,” said Cloete.

The provincial spokesperson for the African Farmers Association of South Africa, (Afasa-Western Cape) Ismail Motala said: “The selection of beneficiaries must be an open public process whereby, those who are knowledgeable, have some entrepreneurial abilities, and importantly, the passion for agriculture, must be those that are awarded farms.”

“The farms that are being bought, some at exorbitant prices, others that are not viable, is not an effective way to bring Black people into the agricultural economy,” said Motala.

Cape Argus

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