Pretoria – Farmer Johannes Tsotetsi, 66, is pleading with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to assist him after he was evicted together with his livestock, including 500 cows.
Tsotetsi, from Heidelberg was awarded the farm in 2018, but he has since been evicted with no explanation and his livestock is wandering on the side of the road.
Speaking at a picket on the matter at the department’s offices in Pretoria yesterday, Tsotetsi family representative Motlalepula Mofokeng said they were being denied opportunities to thrive as a black farming family with the necessary experience.
He said the whole process was marred by delays and promises, it seemed nothing had been put in place for them. He said they were placed on a different farm and when they asked questions they got no responses.
Last Tuesday, the owner of the farm evicted them. “No one came to see us or even assist us; the gates were barricaded and they took us out on to the streets.
“We do not have any plan, there is a farm that is available, but they did not opt to take us there; and they know we qualify and have the necessary resources.
“Our animals are in danger and may cause accidents we are getting no answers as to why we are being chased out. It doesn’t make sense and it is very frustrating.”
He said they were being denied the opportunity to grow as black farmers and could not empower others as they grew. If allowed, they would go far,” Mofokeng said.
“Why did we go through processes of being screened and eventually qualify, only to be snubbed?” he said, adding that they had a lot of livestock and enough experience to run a farm.
They were told that they would be prioritised as soon as a farm was available, but that never happened.
“We are struggling literally by the wayside.”
While the department said it would look into the details around Tsotetsi’s awarding of farm land and the eviction, the protest action yesterday saw them getting support from the EFF.
The party’s Gauteng provincial chairperson Itani Mukwevho said they were going to assist Tsotetsi as it was unfair to leave him with so much livestock and no place, whereas he qualified to live on a farm.
He said there were even documents to prove that. “How can he participate in a process of getting a farm with the department and be allocated one in Heidelberg, and when he occupies it he is told it is no longer available? He now gets evicted.
“The department must be aware that they will never change the appointment letter given to him. We are here to make sure they can be assisted in this issue.
“If they want to challenge us they can take us to court, we will still defend this man, for over five days his livestock is in danger and no one is doing anything,” said Mukwevho.
The department’s Reggie Ngcobo said: “We confirm that we had picketers outside of our Tshwane office. We have met them and agreed to continue engaging with an intention of finding a lasting solution to their concern.”