Clarity sought on farm leases

Posted On Tuesday, 26 June 2007 02:00 Published by
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The meeting will discuss controversial clauses reportedly added to contracts with farmers on an aid programme
26 June 2007

By Chantelle Benjamin

Gauteng's agriculture, conservation and environment department said on Monday it had called for a meeting with the province's transport department to discuss controversial clauses reportedly added to contracts with farmers on an aid programme.

According to a statement by the agriculture department, the transport department, tasked with administering land and issuing title deeds, has apparently added clauses to contracts with farmers on the Gauteng Small Farmer Settlement Programme. These include clauses requiring the farmers to sell their land and to join a specified co-operative.

The Gauteng transport department is expected to release a statement on the matter today.

Agriculture department spokesman Sizwe Matshikiza said the clauses were contrary to the spirit of the original agreement.

"Three-year lease contracts were signed between beneficiaries of the programme and the department of public transport, roads and works with the understanding that a provision was made for the leaseholders to purchase the properties at the end of the contract provided they used the land for agricultural purposes," he said.

The price of the land was determined during the signing process of the lease contract.

He said the department had been notified that clauses had been added that were not part of the original contract.

According to policy documents released by the agriculture department, the programme aims to help farmers to settle and establish economically viable, environmentally friendly and sustainable production units.

The agriculture department would engage the transport department and farmers or beneficiaries to try to find an amicable solution, Matshikiza said on Monday.

Business Day
Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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