Land dispute leads to verification process

Community News

The land dispute under Ba-Ga Petlhu chieftaincy has taken a new twist.
The MEC for agriculture Mr Norman Shushu has been drawn into the ring of the mediation process, but of late, the concerned group is not happy about his involvement, claiming that he has taken sides. Mr Shushu's first attempt to bring the quarrelling parties together was on May 16, 2017 when he availed himself and a team of his officials.
The concerned group, led by Mr Danny Assegai, met the officials at the district mu-nicipality council chambers, but the group led by the interim Community Property As-sociation (CPA) members from the disputed farms in Camden, did not attend for the reason that they were not ready for the meeting.
The bone of contention is that the interim CPA members - the real residents of Ba-Ga Petlhu - allegedly brought new occupants to the farms and now the concerned group, also fellow and former residents who were evicted some years ago, want to come back to where they were born and bred.
The CPA members are no longer inte-rested in the concerned group returning. The concerned group forcefully occupied the land last year and is still occupying the farms in question with great resistance and, at times, the police had to intervene after some confrontation.
The MEC was meant to meet both parties on the day. The concerned group deliberated their issues with Mr Shushu and dispersed.
 On May 22, 2017 the determined MEC Shushu managed to meet the other party for about three hours where he resolved
that a verification process be conducted as from June 5 to 9, 2017. Again the CPA members maintained their stance that they were not ready to meet the concerned group. The concerned group was disappointed by the fact the MEC had only hinted at the verification dates, but did not confirm the process, but instead assured that he would announce via the radio and local newspaper if, indeed, the exercise was to take place.
Reliably the CPA members knew very well that the verification would certainly take place on the dates stipulated. The concerned group allegedly heard it through rumours that the verification exercise would take place at the Ba-Ga Petlhu traditional offices.
Soon after the second meeting, the concerned group consulted the Pretoria offices and they obtained the original list of households that are to benefit from the sagacious farms. The list of about 264 households was obtained that includes the concerned group and the interim CPA members, but not the new occupants brought in by the interim CPA members.
Therefore the new verification process is allegedly aimed at justifying the inclusion of the new occupants who, allegedly, never belonged to Ba-Ga Petlhu area - the centre of the dispute between the two groups.
The conflict is further exacerbated by the chieftaincy vendetta in which each group is represented. The commissioner Mr Mic-hael Petlhu from the department who conducted the verification process, is coinci-dentally related to the chieftaincy and the concerned group said that there is conflict of interest in his involvement.