2 months ago
RESIDENTS DIVIDED OVER LEASE
Groups of angry residents swore at each other outside the community hall in Utah Village. Photo by Oris Mnisi  ~ 

TABLES and chairs flew on Saturday as two groups of residents fought over land.

The incident happened at Utah Village in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga during a meeting over a proposed agriculture and tourism scheme.

Conrad van Eyssen of the Rural Creation and Inclusive Farming Scheme had to leave the meeting when the violence burst out. He is a partner in a proposed deal with the local community.

He told Daily Sun: “We proposed a partnership for agriculture and tourism on the leased Utah Cattle Scheme, with 74% benefit to the community. We want to create 24 small businesses for the community that would create 500 jobs.”

The scheme was established in the 1970s by the former Gazankulu for community farmers.

Following the fight, Councillor Mavis Ndlovu said: “I’m not shaken. We are here to conduct votes for this successful development.”

Angry residents jumped on stage and turned tables upside down. They took the microphone from Ndlovu. They ordered her and Chief Eric Nxumalo’s two sons to leave the meeting.

Induna Reginald Mabunda said: “Yes, I can confirm the deal but I don’t know how many hectares of land were offered to the investor.”

Angry livestock owner Donald Mathebula said residents were angry because the councillor and chief wanted to lease out land they used for the deal.

“Our cattle have been grazing on this land for many years. So who the hell wants this land without consulting us? Even the land reform and tourism departments have not been informed of this nonsense.”

The Manyeleti Tourism Primary Co-operative said it didn’t know much about the deal.

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