Residents in limbo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga farmland where landless beneficiaries were settled four years ago is still without water, roads and electricity because the provincial government has not paid the landowners in full.

Farm owners in Ermelo wanted R1million from the Mpumalanga government, but it has only paid R344000 to the company Boutina Shares.

Angry residents complain bitterly that the matter has been dragging on since 2004 and say their patience is running out.

Several marches have been held to insist on basic services.

Resident Oupa Mathebula says: "It is disheartening that no substantial progress has been made and residents are still without basic services."

A Msukaligwa municipality spokesman says several letters were written to the provincial agriculture and land administration department.

The letter asked for speedy intervention from MEC Dina Pule and suggested the acquisition of portions 35 and 59, which belongs to Boutina Shares of Van Oudshoornstroom.

Spokesman Surprise Nkosi says in letters to Pule that his municipality cited a council resolution in which the municipality offered to pay R344813 instead of the R1million that the farmer who owns the land asked for.

Nkosi says: "In relation to the implementation of the council resolution, we made a considerable effort by paying the money in meeting the offer of the farm owner to the tune of R344813 into Boutina's bank account in 2005 to fast track the process of buying the land.

"The evaluation process was done and concluded to ascertain the price of the land, which eventually amounted to R655287."

Nkosi says the provincial department then agreed to pay the evaluated amount.

A guarantee was issued to Boutina's lawyers that the department would effect payment on registration of the land under the municipality, but this has not happened.

He says Pule has responded with a letter in which legal procedures and steps to be followed were outlined.