HUNDREDS of small-scale farmers and land claimants from areas surrounding Port Elizabeth marched to the Agriculture Department in the city yesterday demanding access to land, along with the provision of post-settlement support, and the reopening of restitution for those who were left out of the process.
The farmers from towns in the Sundays River Valley and Kouga municipalities – including Addo, Paterson, Glenconnor, Hankey, Patensie and Loerie – joined those from KwaNobuhle in marching from Uitenhage Road to the department's Somers Road office in Sydenham.
Singing revolutionary songs, they also carried placards, including one which read: "We can't wait till the grave for our land".
The protest was organised by the Makukhanye Rural Movement, an umbrella body of small farmers' associations, claimants, farm dwellers and development initiatives.
In a memorandum handed over to the department, the farmers demanded that:
- The department acquire land next to Addo communities owned by white farmers;
- Addo Elephant Park gives them Addo Heights – pockets of land near the park – for grazing;
- The Gamtoos Irrigation Board be transformed and an investigation be conducted into why it has not yet been transformed; and
- Farmers be compensated for stock losses they suffered as a result of apartheid's forced removals in Uitenhage.