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The third day of the public hearings on the Communal Property Associations (CPA) Bill hosted by the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform took place in Queenstown on Thursday, 3 August 2017.

Although the majority of CPAs beneficiaries agreed that the proposed amendments to the Bill are necessary, one beneficiary, Mr Dekulunge Mntungani did not share this view entirely. While the Bill, in its current form works well for his CPA, Mr Mntungani welcomed the amendments that speak to the establishment of a CPA office. He is of the opinion that CPAs offices will limit the interference of traditional leaders in CPAs affairs, and increase transparency through the monitoring of CPAs activities.

Mr Mntungani is one of the 33 Ngqura farm beneficiaries. While the beneficiaries are not yet living on the farm, they are situated within the surrounding area, which makes it easy for them to get to work. Mr Mntungani has been attending to the farm duties for about five years and part of his daily routine includes grooming the calves.

He describes the beneficiaries of this farm as fortunate enough to have the necessary machinery needed for farming since so many other farms do not have the equipment needed for farming. He also expressed his gratitude for being a beneficiary of this CPA as he believes that decisions made within his CPA are done for the benefit of the entire CPAs. Mr Mntungani indicated that there is hardly any conflict within his CPA, and that the issues that they have experienced relate to the interference by traditional leaders in the area.

Traditional leaders should not be involved in CPA business, they corrupt the system and the beneficiaries will suffer the consequences of this corrupt system. The proposed amendments also make provision for the improved protection of the rights of communities in respect to movable and immovable properties, which Mr Mntungani believes will ensure that traditional leaders do not influence decisions which could allow for any part of the farm to be sold. Beneficiaries on the Ngqura farm would like to build a life for themselves on the farm and would not want to see any of the property sold. They like the way things are currently being administered and are thankful that they can work on a land of which they are the beneficiaries.

Mr Mntungani indicated that he is aware of the fact that not many other CPAs are functioning to the satisfaction of the beneficiaries, that the influence of traditional leaders has often driven CPAs to being placed under administration and that the CPA Bill in its current form needs to address the challenges faced by those CPAs which have been placed under administration. He thus agrees that changes to the current CPA legislature are necessary to ensure that all CPAs beneficiaries reap the benefits of having received these properties.

By Felicia Lombard
7 August 2017