Minister Ivan Meyer at the entrance to the Office of the Public Protector in the Western Cape.

Minister Ivan Meyer says he welcomes the recent announcement that the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) will launch an investigation into the unlawful eviction of Ivan Cloete from the farm Colenso.

However, given that the matter involves the national department itself, it is only appropriate that it also be investigated by an independent institution. Therefore Minister Meyer has requested the Office of the Public Protector to investigate this matter again, as it has clearly not been resolved.

Furthermore, in the interest of accountability and transparency, he has also requested that Minister Thoko Didiza provide a full list of state-owned farms in the Western Cape, as well as the names of beneficiaries allocated to these farms through the national department’s land reform programme.

“We need to be assured that land reform is not being used as a way to benefit politicians and their friends at the expense of hard-working and deserving applicants,” says Minister Meyer. “The bottom line is that the DALRRD must not repeat the treatment Cloete has received on Colenso Farm, as it can destabilise the a sector that has contributed positively to the economy over the past two quarters.

“Replacing productive, bona fide farmers such as Cloete, with politically linked individuals places South Africa’s food security at risk. Agriculture is an essential sector of the economy of South Africa, and we cannot allow the state capture of farmland to continue.” – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture