Today's Labour News

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gavel thumb100 GroundUp reports that a former state official entrusted with land claims and redistribution has been sent to prison for 10 years for stealing a farm and livestock that had been awarded to a labour tenant family.  

Ten years after the Shabalalas were awarded the Ladysmith farm where they had lived and worked all their lives, they are still waiting for the government to transfer ownership to them and to provide assistance, in line with land reform policy.  Former Department of Rural Development and Land Reform official Patrick Masoka was found guilty earlier this year of fraud and two counts of theft amounting to R5.3 million.  The court heard that in working for the department as a project manager in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Masoka had devised a corrupt scheme whereby he and his family took over ownership and control of a commercially viable farm, Kuickvlei, near Ladysmith.  In terms of the land claim settlement, the Shabalala family were to not only become the rightful owners of the commercially viable farm, but should have also got grants and assistance in line with government’s objective to support emerging farmers.  Instead, Masoka took over the farm and proceeded to remove cattle and sheep as if they were his own.  He did this by creating a trust deed that omitted the Shabalalas as the new owners.  Magistrate Judy Naidoo said the case highlighted the extent to which corrupt officials have easily been able to manipulate the land reform process in defrauding rightful beneficiaries.

  • Read this report by Fred Kockott & Thabiso Goba in full at GroundUp

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page