“The Land Is Theirs – Ramaphosa’s Administration Failed Manoke Traditional Authority”
By Mpho MoAfrika Dube
THE land is theirs however they say President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration has failed them – Manoke Traditional Authority as they demand justice after their land was taken away from them with unconstitutional iron fists like the apartheid regime despite living in a democratic South Africa.
Manoke Traditional Authority, under the leadership of Kgoshi BK Manoke, said to this day, has been sent from pillar to post by Ramaphosa’s administration following transfer of portions 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of their ancestral land, Apiesdorindraai 298KT farm to Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality Land Reform (DRDLR) on February 22, 2017 without any consultation and consent from the community and unattended land invasion at Viljoenshoop 301KT farm by the Department of Rural Development. As land debacles continue to dominate over expropriation of land without compensation in the political space between the ANC, PAC and EFF, the Manoke Traditional Authority on contrary is struggling in vain to get attention of the three spheres of government to discuss and amicably resolve land matters. These matters were also raised with the Ministry Office and the Presidency Office to no success. This reporter is in possession of emails following confirmation by Thabo Mabasa, spokesperson of Manoke Traditional Authority, who said it is however not clear if the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality has initiated development plans over the said portions, and if so it means the needs of the Manoke Community was not catered for, as there were no consultations undertaken.
Manoke Traditional Authority has urged Thoko Didiza Minister of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) to reverse the transfer of portions 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of Apiesdorindraai 298KT and transfer these portions to their rightful beneficiaries, the Manoke Traditional Authority. “It cannot be correct to be oppressed by the apartheid regime and again by the government we have put in power. We demand that government engages the Manoke family over the loss of their rights on Apiesdorindraai 298KT, as portions of the farm, owned by their great grandfather (Jacobus Manoke) were converted into a tribal community,” Mabasa added. According to members of Manoke Traditional Authority, the hopes and dreams of the youth and vulnerable residents for access to land for development of decent human settlement, sustainable farming and economic development are shattered by these developments. The only unfortunate hope they have is to crumble and age at their parent’s houses.
It doesn’t rain but pours for the Manoke Community, as there is ongoing land invasion at Viljoenshoop 301KT which threatens the hopes of the Community for pursuant of their development plans of this farm since consent for development was already granted by the DRDLR. Land invaders take advantage of government’s long consultative and approval processes and invade land. The DRDLR was informed many times of this problem, but nothing was done. The problem started in 2010 and picked sudden momentum in 2018. The Manoke Community has grown impatient to land matters such that they threaten to defy Kgoshi BK Manoke’s call for calmness and take the matter into their own hands
Minister’s Legal Advisor Ivan Ka-Mbonane on June 23, 2020 acknowledged Manoke Traditional Authority letter via email and indicated that he will “bring its contents to the Office of the DG and relevant Office”. However, the next day June, 24, 2020 Manoke Traditional Authority received an email from Samuel Masemola on behalf of the Office of the DG that their matter was referred to Limpopo Acting Chief Director Provincial Shared Services Centre Mathume Matlala who hasn’t send any signal or response to this day despite the elephant in the room pressing issue of land invasion and unconstitutional transfer of portions mentioned above. Mabasa (spokesperson of Manoke Traditional Authority) said: “Let justice be done and land invasion be dealt with decisively. Failure to do so, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform should find equivalent land and compensate the Manoke Community for their loss as the loss was caused by the failure and injustice of the Department.”
In pouring their hearts out, Manoke Traditional Authority asked Ramaphosa’s administration where is justice if the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) can transfer portions 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of Apiesdorindraai 298KT to Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality without the consultation and consent of the directly affected community (Manoke Community, which has been living on the farm for more than a century)? And how invisible is Manoke Traditional Authority to DRDLR for ignoring its calls to a table to discuss and amicably resolve these matters? What is DRDLR’s understanding of the PAJA Act (Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act No. 3 of 2000))? What drove the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipality to compete for land with Manoke community when it was all along assisting the community to plan and develop the same portions of land it has ultimately applied for? Has the Municipality forgotten that it has requested space of land on one of the transferred portions for establishment of the sports precinct? If Manoke Community is stripped of powers from its ancestral land, where will its hopes and aspirations of descent human settlement, commercial farming and sustainable economic development going to be realised? Is it at the interest of the DRDLR and FTLM to confine the youth of the Manoke Community at their parents’ homes until death as there wouldn’t be space available for them to establish themselves? Mabasa (Manoke Traditional Authority) said: “Even after ten years, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) has failed to act against continuing land invasion at Viljoenshoop 301KT, while on the contrary is subjecting the Manoke Community to comply with stringent legislations for socio-economic development of this farm which they have been using for more than a decade.”
Fetakgomo-Tubatse Mayor Ralepane Mamekoa was not available. However, officials at the Municipality confirmed that officials weren’t available because of suspected COVID-19 cases at the municipality. Adam Mathebula a Senior Director of Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality urged Manoke Traditional Authority to follow proper procedures to ensure that the matter is addressed accordingly. He added that it will be disingenuous for him to comment further as the matter is still digested by the Mayor and accounting officer. Both Jackson Mthembu and Khusela Diko respectively Minister in the Presidency and spokesperson for President Ramaphosa were not available for comment. However, spokesperson for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) Nicolas Magada said: “The department is aware of the matter. I can assure you that we are dealing with the matter to ensure that there’s a remedy to the situation. We are taking them seriously therefore they can be rest assured that there will be solution.”
Meanwhile, Manoke Traditional Authority is an old and under developed community, located 3km north-east of Burgersfort town, in Limpopo. Its jurisdiction covers Apiesdorindraai 298KT, Viljoenshoop 30KT and Alverton 274KT. The poverty and under development states of these farms, as well as their fertile agricultural soil and perennial Tubatse river (which is the confluence of Steelpoort and Spekboom rivers), have motivated Kgoshi BK Manoke to harness the competencies and wisdom of his community for development and implementation of a framework aimed at sustainable development for the next generations. A five-year strategic plan was developed as a performance measurement tool, which will be reviewed annually, or as and when required. Manoke Traditional Authority draws its inspirations from the visionary Royal Bafokeng Nation.