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Farmers and community on the edge

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The farmers claimed that 16 of their cattle were slaughtered after the suspects reportedly overpowered and robbed the shepherds.

The land clash between Platfontein community and Goggapomp farmers resulted in the random slaughtering of their livestock on Sunday. Pictures: Supplied

FRUSTRATED farmers of Goggapomp called on the Sol Plaatje Municipality to urgently speed up the process of securing their promised land after members of the Platfontein community went on an alleged random slaughtering spree of their livestock earlier this month.

It is believed that the attack served as a warning to the farmers to vacate the Platfontein communal land following an unresolved land dispute.

The farmers claimed that 16 of their cattle were slaughtered after the suspects reportedly overpowered and robbed the shepherds.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Kock, said the Kimberley Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit are investigating a case of stock theft related to the incident.

Kock said five cows were allegedly stolen from a grazing field near Platfontein and were slaughtered in a veld near the R31.

“Police were contacted and the group of unknown men fled into the veld when the shepherds and police arrived at the scene.”

The farmers believe that the incident was triggered by their inability to vacate the Platfontein communal land as per instruction by the CPA in December last year.

Spokesperson for the farmers, Michael Montsheng, said the of the shepherds were attacked but and managed to flee the scene and call for help.

“We do not know how long this is going to continue,” said Montsheng, adding that the incident happened after they were given notice to vacate the land due to the non-payment of rent.

According to him, they were notified during a meeting between themselves, the CPA and a legal representative, the mayor and the Municipal Manager that the municipality had failed to pay for outstanding rental.

Montsheng said the CPA informed them that they have to make way for new investors in order to utilise the land for development and generate revenue.

“The mayor promised in 2023 to pay the outstanding money, and to engage the Department of Agriculture to highlighting the plight of Goggapomp farmers.

There was also an effort to speed up the assessment of any available farms in order to relocate the farmers. A meeting with the Department of Agriculture fell flat due to a disagreement of the allocation size.

“That was in February this year, when the Department of Agriculture called us to highlight the urgency of vacating the land by June 2024.

“We were informed that Goggapomp, Pescodia, Greenpoint and John Daka farmers have to move to Pescodia where 402 hectares of land will be made available, of which 200 hectares will be for the commonage. The rest will be used to planting.

“Therefore, no animals will be allowed on the fields for grazing but farmers will have to look at providing feed.”

The chairperson of the !Xun and Khwe Communal Property Association of Platfontein, Jim Jim, said they are not aware of the incident.

Efforts to get comment from the Department of Agriculture and Land Reform were unsuccessful.

The municipality confirmed that it is aware of the incident and said it is in the process of resolving it.

Municipal spokesperson, Thabo Mothibi, however admitted that the municipality has been confronted with serious difficulties in its dealings with the Platfontein Communal Property Association executive.

“Regrettably, the challenges have been worsened by the unfortunate scenario of having to deal with two groupings purporting to be representatives within the CPA executive, amongst other frustrations,” said Mothibi.

“We deemed it necessary to escalate the relocation by opting for alternative commonage land parcels. The process is at an advanced stage, and the application aspect will be spelt out in our engagements with the prospective commonage beneficiaries soonest,” concluded Mothibi.

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