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Hawks probe NC land corruption allegations

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The 133.5288 hectares of land on Harrisdale farm was purchased for R9 million and is the property of Dikgatlong Municipality

THE HAWKS are investigating a case of alleged corruption relating to land that was supposed to be apportioned to poor and underprivileged farmers at the Killarney commonage near Barkly West.

The 133.5288 hectares of land on Harrisdale farm was purchased for R9 million and is the property of Dikgatlong Municipality.

A land beneficiary, William Mothibi, claimed that the identities of beneficiaries were used, without their knowledge or consent, to form a representative body – Killarney Co-operative – that in turn sourced millions of rand worth of funding and donations as well as tractors and vehicles.

“This is while the poor beneficiaries remain penniless,” said Mothibi. “The most that beneficiaries ever received was R208 per month, despite the fact that the farm is situated near the river and has many assets and resources.

“I therefore submit that the municipality failed to administer the commonage farm and its movable assets in accordance with the provisions as contemplated in the notarial deed.”

Mothibi added that beneficiaries were entitled to share in the mineral wealth of the land.

“Land was to be allocated for the construction of houses, the promotion of tourism and economic activities to uplift the community.”

He indicated that the previous management body was not aware that Harrisdale farm was supposed to be a commonage.

“The farm is being used by the same farmers since the farm was purchased in 2003. I am demanding clarity because we as the indigent and poor are not benefiting from the use of the farm.”

He stated that the property was only supposed to be used as a commonage.

“I requested the intervention of the premier as he has the right to demand that the land be transferred to provincial government, if the owner of the land has failed in its duties to ensure that the property is administered properly.”

In response to an enquiry, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development informed Mothibi that the land was purchased for emerging farmers in the Dikgatlong region.

“The department has not registered any communal property association on the property. Once the department purchased the land for the municipality, it now becomes the property of the municipality and falls entirely under the administration of the municipality.”

The acting municipal manager of Dikgatlong Municipality could not be reached for comment.

Hawks provincial spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi stated that the investigation into the matter was “at an advanced stage”.