COSATU pres­i­dent meets Vuvulane farm­ers

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Si­fiso Nh­la­batsi

OUT­SPO­KEN first fe­male pres­i­dent of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Zingiswa Losi has vis­ited the so-called trou­bled peo­ple of Ma­fu­cula, Shewula and Vuvulane to get first-hand in­for­ma­tion on their al­leged vic­tim­i­sa­tion by RSSC and the Swazi­land Sugar As­so­ci­a­tion.

The pres­i­dent heard damn­ing al­le­ga­tions on how they were al­legedly kicked out of the farms and made to sign agree­ments which saw them lose their land un­der pres­sure.

Speak­ing on be­half of the Vuvulane farm­ers was Mpisi Dlamini, who gave what he called a de­tailed ac­count of how they first set­tled at Vuvulane Farm Num­ber 680 in 1963. He claimed that 262 fam­i­lies were given por­tions of the farm by CDC and pro­duced sug­ar­cane which was milled by the Mh­lume Sugar Mill un­til 1981 when CDC re­solved to trans­fer the land own­er­ship to the farm­ers.

CDC ap­proached His Majesty King Sub­huza II to hand over the ti­tle deeds to the farm­ers but un­for­tu­nately the king passed away be­fore the process was fi­nalised, claimed Mpisi. He said to them, that was when their prob­lems started and in 1983, the then Liqoqo-led gov­ern­ment drafted pa­pers form­ing a com­pany which stated that 99 per cent share-hold­ing be­longed to the Queen Mother and the farm­ers only had one per cent.

He said farm­ers were forced to sign those pa­pers un­der the bar­rel of a gun. He men­tioned that the farm­ers had been mov­ing from pil­lar to post to no avail. This hap­pened not­with­stand­ing that the high­est court in the land had ruled in their favour.

Vic­tim

It was men­tioned that Mpisi, be­cause he re­fused to sign the sub­or­di­nate pa­pers, was to be­come the worst vic­tim, so much such that his sug­ar­cane was not milled and all fund­ing in­sti­tu­tions re­fused to give him loans to con­tinue farm­ing. His story was cor­rob­o­rated by one Gogo Nd­wandwe who said as Vuvulane farm­ers, they did not know who would come to their res­cue.

The COSATU pres­i­dent was also in­formed that when Simunye Sugar Com­pany was started, peo­ple who had their homes were force­fully set­tled at Ma­fu­cula and Shewula. They were promised that after five years of op­er­a­tion, they would be al­lowed to re­turn to their land as cane grow­ers. How­ever, that never hap­pened and in 2002 Simunye was changed to RSSC and up to to­day they are wait­ing for that prom­ise to be ful­filled.

Losi, the COSATU pres­i­dent, told the farm­ers that her or­gan­i­sa­tion would meet with TUCOSWA to look at how the farm­ers could be as­sisted. She high­lighted that many civil wars were as a re­sult of land own­er­ship.

She in­formed the farm­ers that work­ers fed­er­a­tions were ex­pected to help solve all so­cio-eco­nomic chal­lenges fac­ing their coun­tries and they sub­scribed to the prin­ci­ples of sol­i­dar­ity. She ex­pressed and of­fered COSATU’s sol­i­dar­ity.

FOL­LOW­ING: Some of the Vuvulane farm­ers lis­ten­ing to COSATU Pres­i­dent Zingiswa Losi dur­ing her visit.

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