At its special meeting held in Pietermaritzburg on the 14th and 15th November 2014, the KZN Landless People’s Movements resolved to tackle two major policy issues affecting people living on farms.  The first issue concerned the talk of Ingonyama’s intention to claim the whole of KwaZulu-Natal, including land held by trusts.  The second issue had to do with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s plans to establish agri-villages for farm dwellers in order to facilitate delivery of services, whilst not compromising farm worker’s access to their workplaces on farms.

The Landless Peoples Movement is a grassroots movement of farm workers, farm dwellers and people living in former homelands.  It strives to defend and assert the rights to land for all people living in commercial farm lands and former homelands.  It does so by engaging policy makers and duty bearers with a view to influence policies such that they are responsive to the needs of the poor.

On the question of Ingonyama’s intention to claim the rest of KZN, including the land already given to the poor through various land reform programmes, the movement resolved to seek a meeting with Ingonyama Trust Board to clarify the LPM’s position in relation to the said intention.  Whilst they commend the government for re-opening the land claims process, they believe that such process should not be allowed to undermine or reverse the gains already made by the landless.  So, they want to strike a deal with Ingonyama Trust Board that will protect communities that own land through trusts established in accordance with the land reform programme.

With regard to the DRDLR’s plans to establish agri-villages, the movement wants it to halt its plans until it hears and addresses the concerns of the farm dwellers.  To this end, the leadership has requested a meeting with the Department’s office in Pietermaritzburg to present a list of demands that will meet people’s interests and address their needs.  Among these demands, they want the Department to deliver services to places where people are, not to cram them in township like agri-villages.  The services needed include fencing of the grazing camps, building of earth dams, dipping tanks and allocation of veterinarians, providing agricultural skills, implements, extension services and marketing opportunities.

Both these meetings are planned for January 2015.