Report on the Riemvasmaak Community Trust Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform 20 MARCH 2018
Presentation Outline • Introduction • Restitution claim • 1994 Settlement • Resettlement from Namibia • Trust under Administration • Restitution of last claim – The farm Sandrift • 2009 Comprehensive Rural Development Plan (CRDP) • Minister’s visit • Current situation (Established Riemvasmaak Community Development Trust)
Introduction • Riemvasmaak is situated in the Northern Cape in the ZF Mgcawu District Municipality. • People of Riemvasmaak were forcibly removed in 1974, by the former Apartheid South African government from their place of birth, Riemvasmaak and split in two with part of the community being taken to Namibia (then South West Africa) and some to the former Ciskei. • Forced removals were done on ethnic basis ie Xhosa speaking were relocated to Ciskei and the Nama and Damara speaking to Namibia. • Regrettably there are a few households that are still in Namibia and the Eastern Cape.
Restitution Claim • Riemvasmaak is one of the first restitution claims to be lodged and setttled in South Africa. • The claim was first lodged with the Advisory Commission on Land Allocation (ACLA) in 1992, just two years before the new democratically elected government in April 1994. • On 11 February 1994 ACLA recommended that the land known as the Riemvasmaak Reserve be restored to the people (community) and the then State President accepted and approved. • Following the establishment of the democratically elected government on 27 April 1994, the Riemvasmaak claim was rectified by the newly enacted act, the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 (Act No. 22 of 1994). • Total extent is about 74 000 hectares
Resettlement from Namibia • During 1995 and 1996, the Department of Land Affairs, now Department of Rural Development and Land Reform assisted 166 households to relocate (repatriated) from Namibia and from Ciskei to Riemvasmaak. • The community lived in Riet-houses and in abject poverty. • Government and the local municipality replaced the riet-houses with proper houses and provided other basic services. • 28 Households that were relocated to Welcomehood in the Eastern Cape, opted for financial compensation and were paid R1 530 200.00.
Trust Under Administration • Following allegations of misappropriation of funds, the Northern Cape Restitution Office requested Ministerial approval to place the Trust under administration. • In February 2010, the Master of the High Court of the Northern Cape appointed a firm of attorneys, Mathews and Partners as administrators. • The contract between the Commission and the Administrator was from 1 April 2010 to 31 July 2011. • Due to extensions the contract came to an end in August 2012, and the contract amount was R4.2 million. • Two of the Trustees were found guilty by the court and were arrested for misappropriating about R650 000 and this triggered dissatisfaction within the community
Continued…. • While under Administration, the Trust took over the management, lease and production of the farm Omdraai (Vaaldrift) which was bought for R28 million. • Some leaders within the community raised their dissatisfaction with the Administrator, and argued that they were not informed about the finances of the business – rental money, profit of the exported grapes, etc. • These led to several interventions by local political leaders including the MEC but without any success. • During the tenure of the Administrator, all the reporting was done to the Provincial Department of Agriculture in the province. • Ultimately the Trust, represented by Mr Freddie Bosman raised their concerns with the Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform (Mr Nkwinti at that time).
Minister visits Riemvasmaak • After a focused meeting in Cape Town with Mr Bosman, Minister Nkwinti, accompanied by the MEC for Agriculture and senior managers called a community meeting at Riemvasmaak on 1 April 2014. • At the meeting the community informed the Minister that they don’t require the Administrator anymore, they wanted to manage their land themselves. • The Minister advised the community to address governance challenges by setting up 4 committees (governance, planning,repatriation and development) under the leadership (chairmanship) of a local councillor. • The most important one was for them to consider changing the land holding entity from TRUST to a Communal Property Association and report back to allow him and the department to register a new CPA. • To date all efforts to assist the community to achieve this have been rejected, especially by Mr Bosman. • Therefore there is minimal progress in this regard.
Last restitution claim • In 2003 the Riemvasmaak Community Trust lodged the second claim with the Regional Land Claims Commissioner: Free State and Northern Cape. • The Commission settled the claims through section 42D of the Restitution Act and the claim was approved by Minister in June 2009. • The total extent of the farm is 46 595 hectares, worth R28 million and is held by the TRUST.
CRDP site • Riemvasmaak is one of the first Comprehensive Rural Development Program sites. • It was launched by the Minister on 19 June 2009, just after the election of the new Administration. • The CRDP program yielded positive results that culminated in the implementation of several projects: • 22 houses; • Bulk water pipeline; • Early Childhood Development Centre; • Upgrade of sports facilities; • Clinic; and • Library.
Intervention by the Master of the High Court • On 15 May 2015 the Master of the Northern Cape High Court called a meeting of the Riemvasmaak community at Naba Lodge in Upington. • The meeting was a result of the request from the Public Protector to clarify his role and that of the other TRUSTEES appointed to deal with the affairs of the Riemvasmaak Community Trust. • The meeting of 15 May 2015 focused on the centrality of the Riemvasmaak Community Trust Deed. • The Master is the only person who appoints the trustees. • All trustees are appointed according to section 7.2 of the Riemvasmaak Community Trust Deed. • The Master acts within the confines of the Trust Deed. • Finally, the Master has no say in what the trustees must do.
Continued… At the meeting of 15 May 2015 the following resolutions were taken: • To have systems in place to hold regular meetings; • To appoint alternative TRUSTEES; • Interim Trustees be appointed until the next elective AGM; • A governance workshop to be arranged to explain the TRUST DEED and who the Trustees are; and • Master to make audited financial statement and conduct the election on 13 June 2015.
Interventions by PSSC: NC • Several meetings were held with the Riemvasmaak community during 2014 and 2015 and a workshop was conducted as requested by the community members to differentiate between the CPA and Trust model. • The community was given 21 days to decide on the model they want as currently the departmental mandate is only limited to CPAs. No response was received and the current model of a Trust continued as it is outside our departmental mandate. • A meeting was held with the Kai Garib municipality on 27 August 2014 and they promised to assist the department in the development of the area.
Interventions by PSSC: NC cont…… • Meeting held in Kimberley (PSSC: NC) on 8 December 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss developments at Vaaldrift and Vredesvalley. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Riemvasmaak Trust, IDC, DARDLR, DRDLR and BONO. • IDC and BONO wanted to collaborate on development at Vaaldrift. For this collaboration to be formalised, BONO and the Riemvasmaak Trust have to enter into a long term lease agreement. • The proposed shareholding by IDC for this agreement was 80% to the Trust and 20% by BONO. A business plan has been prepared for the development and planting of 40 Ha. • If the agreement between the Trust and BONO is in place, the IDC is willing to make a contribution towards the project in the form of a loan.
Interventions by PSSC: NC cont…… • The IDC also indicated their willingness to appoint a social facilitator to assist with discussions around development. Vaaldrift: • The Riemvasmaak trust has had a long standing lease agreement with BONO. In terms of development, the focus of the meeting was on agricultural projects as the production of table grapes would come to an end during 2016. The implication of this would be that job losses will become a reality. • At present there is 550ha of water rights on the land of which 160ha are for the community to use and 390ha is for development.
Interventions by PSSC: NC cont…. Vredesvalley: • With the establishment of the CRDP there have been several infrastructure development projects implemented. • Community engagements will be held to discuss the needs of the community and interventions required.
Interventions by Provincial DoARDLR • On 26 January 2016 a meeting was held in Upington between DoARDLR and representatives from Riemvasmaak to revitalise the Council of Stakeholders.
(CURRENT SITUATION) RIEMVASMAAK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST • ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RIEMVASMAAK TRUST:The newly elected trust was appointed by the Master of the Northern Cape High Court on 18 September 2017. The seven elected members are as follows:1. Mr James Mapanka - Chairperson2. Ms Charlotte Dawids - Deputy Chairperson3. Mr Thomas Steenkamp - Secretary4. MsChristolien Vass - Deputy Secretary5. Ms Ennie Mompe - Treasurer6. Mr Marcus Basson - Additional Member 7. MrVuyisile Vass - Additional Member
RIEMVASMAAK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST Following subcommittees were established to help the trustees in their duties. • Development opportunities:1. Mining for small miners2. Agriculture 3. Tourism4. Nature conservation Melkbosrand5. One household one hectare programme of government • Challenges:1. The Vaaldrift farm bought by the government is dysfunctional and needs serious intervention from DRDLR; development of the farm needs to be done. 2. The hot springs needs to be upgraded. Assistance is needed from the Department of Tourism and Economic Affairs. 4. Melkbosrand: want to establish a community park. The people and park concept needs to be explored. 5. Need for more to be done to unite the community who are negative because of previous experience.
RIEMVASMAAK COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST To ensure transparency the newly elected Trust will have a community meeting on 24 March 2018 where they will be reporting on the activities of the past six months since occupying the office.