The civil rights organisation AfriForum’s legal team sent a formal PAIA application on behalf of members of the Barolong Boo Modiboa (Ba Matlwang) Communal Property Associaton (CPA) in the vicinity of Potchefstroom to the administrator of the CPA and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to obtain information about the properties and other matters of the CPA.

Community members and beneficiaries of the CPA did not receive information that they had requested from the administrator or the DALRRD. The information pertains to their concerns about the lack of progress that has been made since the start of the term of the administrator and the general unavailability of information relating to the CPA.

The following information relating to the affairs of the CPA was requested in the PAIA application:

  • a list of the transactions that the community entered into
  • a list of business agreements that the administrator entered into on behalf of the CPA
  • all the lease agreements that were entered into
  • the report as well as the findings of the investigation with regard to the management of the CPA
  • the bank statements
  • the audited financial statements
  • the original valuation of all farms that were purchased for the CPA
  • all pleadings and papers that relate to the R3 million claim for a project that the CPA is sued for
  • the Barolong Investments company certificates
  • the asset register
  • the logbook for the vehicle
  • any information and minutes of workshops, meetings with the community and the DALRRD
  • documentation to indicate what has been done in order to comply with the Communal Property Association Act 28 of 1996.

The community is of the view that the appointed administrator, Kgokong Attorneys, is not acting in the best interest of the community. Concerns include that no pertinent steps are being taken by the administrator to stop the ongoing land invasion. The CPA members are also aware of an Eskom substation that is planned to be built on the property. In general, there is a lack of transparency and provision of information, specifically about financial matters. This is of specific concern. These member of the CPA requested assistance from the DALRRD and received no support. It is clear from the above actions that the interests and well-being of the CPA are not placed first.

“Property rights are the cornerstone for the creation of wealth and therefore the wellbeing of a community. AfriForum cannot stand by idly while the property rights of a community are not protected by a legal entity appointed by government,” says Barend Uys, Head of Intercultural Cooperation at AfriForum.

“We do not understand why an administrator was appointed after the community had resolved our differences. We are very concerned about the property of our community. We need answers from the Department and urgent steps must be taken to protect our property. We are not provided with information, consulted about important decisions and empowered to manage the CPA ourselves. It seems as if there is no real effort to return the management of the CPA to community members. We are now taking steps to ensure that we can manage the CPA by ourselves,” says Kgotso Ratikoane, a Barolong Boo Modiboa community member and CPA beneficiary.

“Cases like these cast doubt on government’s commitment to property rights and the true empowerment and wellbeing of communities,” Uys concludes.

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