Ndumo Communities Want Land, Not Music



18th December 2008

The IFP has dismissed today's high-profile visit of three MECs, complete with entertainers and music, to the troubled communities around Ndumo Game Reserve as an attempt to deflect attention from the provincial government's equal failure in redistributing land and conserving the environment. 

MECs Mike Mabuyakhulu (Local Governerment), Bheki Cele (Transport) and Mtholephi Mthimkhulu (Agriculture) are visiting Maputaland amid the boiling discontent of the local Mbangweni and Bhekabantu communities with the pace of land reform as well as the deteriorating state of the Ndumo Game Reserve. 

"The troubled communities around Ndumo Game Reserve want land. Instead, they are getting music and vague promises of future development from the politicians who failed them in the first place," said IFP Umkhanyakude District Chairperson Alfred Mpontshane. 

In particular, the IFP is questioning the rationale behind MEC Mabuyakhulu's participation in the government task team which deliberately excludes representatives of IFP-run local government.  

"MEC Mabuyakhulu has a proven record of promoting local development without involving stakeholders from the local government if these happen to be affiliated to political parties other than the ANC," said Mpontshane. 

The IFP maintains that since it took power in 2004 the ANC-led provincial government has failed to find a balance between land reform and environmental conservation.  

"Through endless procrastination and a lack of direction, the government has simultaneously managed to further impoverish aspiring farmers as well as degrade the environment," said Mpontshane.  

The only way out of the mess the ANC knows, the IFP contends, is to try and deflect the public attention from the crisis.  

"As usual, the MECs are rushing to a disgruntled community with a band of musicians to wage an election campaign at the taxpayers' expense," said Mpontshane.

Alfred Mpontshane
083 441 6201