‘That was all lies’: Family land ends up in the ‘wrong hands’
One beneficiary claims to a descendant of the man who owned the land, but the family denies any knowledge of him
A KwaZulu-Natal land claimant is seething, saying a piece of land he claimed from the government – which includes a number of farms in the towns of Dundee, Vryheid, Newcastle, Utrecht, Nqutu, Dannhauser and Dumbe – ended up in the “wrong hands”.
Mzobanzi Ngema, from Newcastle, said his family, whose claim from the late 1990s was approved, got nothing while other people who were not the Ngemas – and who were not born there – appeared on the list of beneficiaries.
He said one of the beneficiaries, Monde Dukashe, claimed to be the son of his grandfather, Christopher Ngema, but he is not known by the Ngema family.
“Dukashe is not my blood, he’s not a Ngema, but he’s led a group of people who misled government to say this land belonged to them. That was all lies. This is Ngema land that ended up in wrong hands. This land includes a number of towns around here in northern KwaZulu-Natal. I can count Nqutu, Ladysmith, Dundee, Vryheid, Newcastle, Utrecht and others,” said Ngema.
Attempts to get comments from Dukashe were fruitless, as his phone was switched off.
The department of rural development and land reform (DRDLR) confirmed to Times Select the Ngema family’s claim was valid.
The department said the land claim was not an individual, but rather a community, land claim that consisted of 261 households.
The department’s spokesperson, Nokuthokoza Ndlela-Zulu, said the land the Ngemas claimed was currently under administration after the discovery of corrupt activities.
“The Waaihoek claim was put under administration by the office of the master of the high court due to corrupt activities from various beneficiaries,” said Ndlela-Zulu.
The department said the Waaihoek properties had been acquired through the Restitution programme.
“The chief land claims commissioner approved the claim in 2006, and land was transferred to Waaihoek community Trust in 2007. The Waaihoek Community Trust was formed to hold, manage and administer the land on behalf of the community consisting of 261 households,” said Ndlela-Zulu.
She said the properties were located at the Emadlangeni Local Municipality, under the Amajuba District Municipality.
She said after the successful claim, the regional land claims commission acquired the following farms:
The remainder of Portion 1 & 2 of Twejfelfontein No 160;
The remainder of Portion 1 of Groothoek No 152;
Portion 3 of Groothoek No 173;
Subdivision 9 of Waaihoek No 173;
Subdivision 11 of Waaihoek No 173;
Portion 7 of Groothoek No 152;
The remainder of Portion 1 of Frischgewaagd No 17076;
Subdivision 3 of Waaihoek No 173;
The remainder of Sub 5 & 6 Waaihoek No 173;
The remainder of Portion 2 & 5 Zandspruit No 162;
Portion 2 of Gumtree Grove No 126;
Portion 2 & 10 Groothoek No 152;
Portion 5 & 13 of Groothoek No 152;
Subdivision 4 of Waaihoek No 173;
Portion 1 of farm Rooipoort No 166;
Portion 1 of farm Klipspruit No 124 and;
Portion 5 & 6 of farm Goedehoop No 177.
“The current land use consists of 1,031 hectares of cropland area and 4,710 hectares under veld grazing,” said Ndlela-Zulu.
But Ngema said all they wanted was answers about their land. “If there were any investigations involving fraud, the department should have told us. We’ve been in the dark forever about what belongs to us as the Ngema household. We were asked to either chose if we need land or money, and we said we want our land. But all we knew later was that the land was given to five other people, led by Dukashe,” he said.Ngema accused the department of not being honest with them. “There’s dishonesty here, as they know that this is rich, fertile farming land.”He said history favoured them. “This land was given to our grandfather Stuurman Ngema in 1904 by King Edward VII, and the entire area is known as KwaNgema, but later they were displaced and moved to Piet Retief, the area called KwaNgema today,” he said.Ndlela-Zulu said after the land was released to the community, an operating company was registered to undertake management of farming activities on behalf of the community.“The name of the company is Siza Kancane [SK]. The whole project, including the legal entity and company, has been put under administration for maladministration of the Waaihoek project,” said Ndlela-Zulu.