Residents march to demand farms back
ABOUT 500 members of the Ratsaka community in Soekmekaar, Limpopo, staged a protest march yesterday to demand the disbandment of the Morebene Communal Property Association (CPA) they accuse of ruining 15 farms that were returned to them in 2005.
The 45 portions of farms were registered under the name of the CPA after the government bought them from white farmers for R52million.
But only three farms are being run on a rental basis while others are lying fallow.
The community, under the banner of the Morebene concerned beneficiaries committee, marched through the streets of Soekmekaar to the CPA offices to hand over a memorandum.
The CPA offices are situated on one of the properties handed back to them in 2005.
In the memorandum community members demand that the CPA be disbanded, provide audited financial statements dating back to 2005, provide reasons for the removal of assets and equipment from some farms and remove illegal occupants
The memorandum was received by CPA chairman Frans Ramoba, who has allegedly disassociated himself "from the conduct of other CPA members".
Ramoba promised to take the memorandum to other CPA members.
Beneficiaries committee chairman Max Ramabe told Sowetan that assets and equipment worth millions of rand had been unlawfully removed from the properties and was allegedly sold to other farmers in the area.
"There has not been any audited financial statements since 2005 and funds were being transferred into the personal accounts of certain CPA members," Ramabe said.
He said the matter of the disbandment of the CPA had now been taken to the Pretoria High Court.
The CPA has served its five-year term and has allegedly flouted sections of the law governing CPAs, Ramabe said.
When contacted for comment yesterday CPA deputy chairman, Frans Ratsaka said he was not aware of Friday's march and promised to investigate.
His cellphone was then grabbed by someone who told Sowetan to "go to h..." if it was not prepared to reveal how it obtained Ratsaka's cellphone numbers.