Makgobaskloof 35 farms suffer as infighting ravages trust
Included among the farms is a formerly profitable tea estate
A MEDIATOR has been appointed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in a bid to resolve the bitter infighting that led to the collapse of 35 farms in Makgobaskloof, Limpopo.
But the effort may prove to be a fruitless exercise because the Makgoba traditional authority, led by Chief Mokopa Makgoba, has rejected mediation as the right formula to resolve the destructive infighting.
The mediator is local lawyer Ravi Mashabela,
Included among the farms is a formerly profitable tea estate.
The traditional authority has been at loggerheads with the Mamphoku-Makgoba Community Trust over the control of 35 farms that were returned to the clan.
They were bought for R104-million in 2005 and registered in the name of the trust in line with the Communal Property Association Act.
The bitter infighting has led to the Makgoba beneficiaries' committee claiming that both the traditional authority and the trust do not have the interests of villagers at heart.
Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Chief Makgoba said: "We don't understand what the mediator will be trying to resolve. The authorities know very well which problems need to be resolved."
He said the authorities needed to release and act on a forensic report into the alleged financial mismanagement and theft of assets by some members of the trust.
The report, which Sowetan has seen, blamed some members of the trust for the mismanagement of the farms.
But the trust's chairman, Thupane Makgoba, believes mediation would help resolve the infighting.
"We have already met with the mediator. We told the mediator that we were more than willing to work with everyone for the benefit of our people," Makgoba said.
He said he was confident that new Limpopo agriculture MEC Jacob Lerole would help to resolve the matter.
In his budget speech, Lerole said that the Makgoba situation was among land issues that needed to be resolved.
Department of agriculture spokesman Kenny Mathivha said Lerole was willing to resolve the matter once he had studied all the relevant documents and had been properly advised.