The beneficiaries of Communal Property Associations (CPAs) in the Klerksdorp area earlier this week appealed to members of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform for assistance in expediting funding processes in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
Reverberating throughout the City of Matlosana Local Municipality's auditorium, was the desperate voices of beneficiaries who have been given back the properties lost by the former generations during the apartheid era, and now still await funding from the department despite some of them having received these properties a number of years ago.
A young beneficiary told us about the tale of a CPA which does not know what to do with the properties they have been given, since they do not have any money to turn the farm into a productive establishment that would be able to improve and sustain the lives of the beneficiaries.
He further stated that although the house of the previous farmer has now been rented out to teachers in the nearby area, and the available buildings leased to the community; the money collected from these leases is deposited directly into the accounts of a selected few beneficiaries. He said they have tried to engage these few selected beneficiaries on this matter. The CPA beneficiaries thus requested that the expedition of funding processes be mentioned in the Bill, perhaps by setting a timeline at which the department is to allocate funding to the CPA.
While is the issue of funding was the main focus of the day, a number of suggestions were made on the proposed amendments. One suggestion was to include in the amendments the process and timeline for amending CPAs constitutions which are often outdated and do not allow CPAs beneficiaries to hold the CPAs executive to account.
Another beneficiary spoke about the definitions relating to the terms "members" and "communities", which the beneficiaries believe need more clarification since the wider community often holds the view that anyone can have inputs and claims to the CPAs properties; and CPAs beneficiaries are thus not left alone to make decisions without the interference of non-beneficiaries.
While there was a strong welcome for the amendments that speak to strengthening the rights of CPAs communities, a member from a CPA in the Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality strongly spoke against the appointment of a registrar who he believes should not be given the authority to make decisions that would affect CPAs. He was of the opinion that CPAs beneficiaries will not be comfortable in asking for the permission of the registrar before attempting to do something. He also said this amendment will take away power from the beneficiaries and be placed in the hands of a registrar who will be appointed from the very department that has been failing the CPAs.
These were some of the suggestions made by CPAs beneficiaries in the Klerksdorp area, who were afforded the opportunity to raise their voices on the proposed amendments to the Communal Property Associations Bill [B12-2017] during the nationwide public hearings by the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform. A number of written submissions were received, which the Committee will now evaluate before the transformation of the Bill into an Act.
Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa