'State expert left land restitution beneficiaries broke'

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

Funds belonging to beneficiaries of the land redistribution programme could have been saved from the poor management and "mess-up" by a strategic partner, organisations said.

Millions of rands were allegedly mismanaged by the South African Farm Management - a government-introduced strategic partner to manage farms on behalf of land restitution beneficiaries.

But the "expert" partner has brought down the agricultural production of farmers as they were left with unpaid millions of rands in loans and nothing to run their farms.

Eight communities were left without supervision as the strategic partner's directors resigned amid allegation of mismanagement and failure to transfer skills.

The farmers' union accused SAFM of exploitation and abuse of power by enriching themselves with opportunities on communities' land and vanishing without explanation.

Joe Gondo, chairman of the National African Farmer Union in Limpopo, said the mess-up could have been avoided when his union called for withdrawal of the strategic partner after receiving complaints from beneficiaries.

"They messed up and vanished with the farmers' money," said Gondo.

Ndiafhi Kwinda of Nkuzi Development Association said production is going to be affected, and feared that the deterioration will affect food production.

He said the department of agriculture should quickly intervene to save the deteriorating conditions at the farms.