State evicts farmworkers

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

More than 60 farmworkers, who tilled land that later became unproductive, will lose everything when the Land Bank sells their farm and all its assets - to cover losses.

The Bonolo Farms project near Rustenburg received more than R10million of funding and agricultural equipment from the Department of Agriculture, the Land Bank and the Department of Land Affairs.

The North West public accounts committee visited the project on Monday and found the farm derelict.

What was once a flourishing business processing 30000 chickens a week and providing jobs to more than 60 workers is now in an appalling state.

DA leader in North West, Chris Hatting, said the abattoir was now being used to process the odd consignment of cabbage and potatoes. And only a few of the workers are still on "their" farm.

"The project remains another sad story of wasted public funds and lost job opportunities," he said.

"The responsibility for this tragic disaster should be put solely at the door of the North West provincial government. Poor planning, lack of support and the absence of communication lines between the department of agriculture and the farm can be regarded as the main contributors to this massive failure," he said.

Spokesman for the provincial department of agriculture, Bonolo Mohlakoane, said he could not comment because the project had been taken out of the department's control.