Western Cape minister of agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer has called on the national government to rectify the “land mismanagement” that will see a West Coast farmer, Ivan Cloete, evicted from his Colenso farm in Darling.
On Monday, 1 February 2021 a delegation of high-level government officials notified Cloete that his lease was terminated.
This was despite productively working the Colenso land for more than a year. Cloete is now faced with eviction from the third farm allocated to him by the state.
Given his status as a MK veteran, a new tenant was given preference in terms of state policy, government confirmed.
“That is my life. I was given rights here. The department knew I was here. They placed me here and did not offer anything else,” Cloete said in an earlier interview with Food For Mzansi.
His removal comes after deputy president David Mabuza promised that productive farmers would not be evicted under the land redistribution programme.
Cloete has since accused government officials of violating his human rights and intimidation. Officials who facilitated Cloete’s placement on the Colenso farm in 2019 will face disciplinary action. This was confirmed by Reggie Ngcobo, the spokesperson for minister Thoko Didiza.
Cloete is not alone
Meanwhile Constitutional law expert prof. Elmien Du Plessis said following Food For Mzansi’s article, she received several queries from other farmers who have faced similar challenges with government.
“Since Mr Cloete’s story went public, I have received many similar queries. It is important that we find a way to deal with these issues. A Land Redistribution Act should be a priority, giving a clear indication of who should benefit,” she said.
Meyer said his recent visit to Cloete’s farm highlighted national government’s mismanagement of land reform in South Africa.
“Mr Cloete is effectively being denied security of tenure on Colenso.
(This is) despite having been moved from previous farms twice through no fault of his own, but rather due to national government’s failure to implement and manage land reform projects under its responsibly.”
Meyer further called for the planned eviction of Cloete to be immediately stopped.
“The planned eviction of Mr Cloete must be stopped given the prohibition of all evictions, save by order of a competent Court in terms of Regulation 37(1) of the Regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002,” he said.
Earlier, government indicated that it had entered into a long-term lease agreement with Cloete.
Meyer said, “Therefore, I have written to the national minister to act in terms of the Constitution and the rule of law to prevent Mr Ivan Cloete’s unjust eviction on his farm in Darling
“The national minister must immediately stop the state capture of the farm Colenso or face the Zondo Commission.”