MOO! CAT­TLE MARCHED TO TOWN HALL

Farm­ers use their live­stock to em­pha­sise graz­ing land needs

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

Cat­tle made a grand en­trance to Cath­cart Road dur­ing the Mlungisi Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion march to Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to de­mand graz­ing land on Wed­nes­day.

The as­so­ci­a­tion chair Zola Mago­qoza said the live­stock had to sur­vive on over­grazed land and that the drought had ex­ac­er­bated the sit­u­a­tion in the Mlungisi camps.

Mago­qoza said the camp was over­crowded with 75 mem­bers oc­cu­py­ing the land, of which 60 were mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion.

“We have a lease agree­ment with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity on one of the ar­eas to­wards Roy­don which we have been pay­ing for. The land is oc­cu­pied by peo­ple who the mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials agreed would be re­moved within seven days last month, but that has not hap­pened,” he said.

Mago­qoza said the mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion found it dif­fi­cult to meet with the of­fi­cials who con­tin­u­ously made ap­point­ments which they failed to hon­our.

He said there was avail­able land near the Lawrence de Lange Na­ture Re­serve which had plenty of graz­ing for the live­stock and their live­stock were in dan­ger at the Mlungisi graz­ing ar­eas as mu­nic­i­pal trucks, busi­nesses and com­mu­nity mem­bers used the area for il­le­gal dump­ing.

“Busi­nesses dump piglets, chick­ens and chem­i­cals which kill our live­stock. We have seen mu­nic­i­pal trucks and com­mu­nity mem­bers dump­ing build­ing slabs. We have re­ported the in­ci­dents to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, but no ac­tion was taken.”

A mem­ber of the as­so­ci­a­tion, Rara Kula, said: “You can­not be a farmer with­out graz­ing land and with­out be­ing given the nec­es­sary re­sources to de­velop.

“Our live­stock are im­por­tant ... to sup­port our fam­i­lies and to as­sist to de­velop the econ­omy of the com­mu­nity, be­cause we em­ploy peo­ple.”

Kula said the farm­ers were a crit­i­cal sec­tor in agri­cul­tural and ru­ral devel­op­ment.

“We are stake­hold­ers who de­serve to get a plat­form to meet with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and our discussions should be pro­gres­sive and not left hang­ing,” Kula said.

He said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had land which should be given to farm­ers and if it was will­ing to work with the mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion they could eas­ily gain ac­cess to that land.

“We want land that will be well re­sourced, with suf­fi­cient water.

“When the mu­nic­i­pal­ity sup­plies the farm­ers with land other de­part­ments will also ben­e­fit by bring­ing plat­forms for devel­op­ment like shear­ing sheds and dip­ping and other han­dling fa­cil­i­ties.”

Pic­ture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

MOO! About 300 head of cat­tle stood in Cath­cart Road in front of the town hall when mem­bers of the Mlungisi Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion marched to the Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of­fices on Wed­nes­day

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