Agriculture & Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza has announced a suspension on evictions of black farmers in Mpumalanga from state-owned farms. Rapport reports that the Minister conceded during a meeting with farmers in Ermelo that there is patent corruption in the assigning of state-owned farms in the Gert Sibande district. Several former beneficiaries of land reform projects have complained that they had received eviction notices from the department to make way for others.
When individual farmers challenged Didiza, she responded: ‘It is totally unlawful, as evictions from state farms may only be done with ministerial approval. And there was no approval.’ One of the farmers, John Mabasa, told the Minister he got an eviction order to vacate the farm his family has been living on for more than 150 years after he refused to pay an ‘administration fee’ of R250 000 to officials. Didiza undertook that her department will visit each farmer who has received an eviction notice to investigate their cases. ‘In some cases, the eviction orders are clearly criminal matters which will be referred to law enforcement agencies,’ she said.