Thembalethu farmers to be relocated
A group of farmers from Thembalethu that has been waiting for the authorities to decide on the future of the land they have been farming on for many years, is to be relocated within the next two years.
This was announced at a meeting between the farmers, a delegation from the Western Cape Department of Human
Settlements and a number of other departments in Thembalethu on Saturday 5 May.
The farmers, represented by the Thembalethu Farmers Union (Umanyano), have been patiently anticipating an answer from the authorities about future plans for erf 197, where they farm. It is the large open property in Thembalethu that borders on the Ballot’s Bay Nature Reserve.
They had their hopes on a 2014 development proposal of the department for creating agricultural plots for smallscale farmers and a communal grazing area for their livestock on erf 197. An orphanage, place of worship, tourism centre and a critical biodiversity area formed part of that proposal.
However, the department announced on Saturday that it can no longer grant a lease agreement to the farmers as the land is earmarked for housing development. During the next two years, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, together with the George Municipality, will endeavour to find suitable land for the farmers.
Stanza Gwilikana, who heads Umanyano, was happy about the news. “We are excited that we finally have more certainty about our future.
"It has been a long time. We welcome the fact that we will be relocated.
"There is no security where we are farming now and we suffer because of livestock theft. The different departments will be working together to help with the process and we foresee that we will have better infrastructure and security on the new land.”
We welcome the fact that we will be relocated.