Anglo American: yet another community deniedPublished by MAC on 2006-07-12
Anglo American: yet another community denied
12th July 2006
This week we report on an escalation in the conflict between the community of Maandagshoek (South Africa) and Angloplat - a majority-owned subsidiary of Anglo American. On July 6th the community's lawyer, Richard Spoor, was threatened by the company with indictiment for allegations in an article on this website (Black Friday at Monday's Corner, June 25 2006: see "ANGLO'S MAILED FIST" in this week's postings.)
Following this, the ANC leader Jacob Zuma appointed Supreme Court Advocate, Jurg Prinsloo - a former pro-apartheid Conservative Party MP - to bring defamation charges against a number of publications and individuals for impugning his reputation.
Mr Prinsloo has, since 2003, been employed by Angloplat in its five year battle against another black South African community. According to the secretary of the Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee Prinsloo "reneged on a signed agreement between the community and the company accepting the validity of the land claim", while his recent "interrogation of community members in the land claims court was reminiscent of mindset of the architects of apartheid and forced removals."
The community's members are now at the final stages of the court process, which involves obtaining an order of court for the expropriation of the territory appropriated in the name of Angloplat subsidiary, Rustenburg Platinum Mines, denying the community's plan for the sustainable use and development of the land.
In June 2004 the community won the first stage of the court case to prove the legal validity of its land claim under the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 2004. The land restitution process is part of the national land reform programme, aimed at redressing past racial measures to dispossess black communities of their ancestral lands.
What follows are a MEDIA STATEMENT FROM THE GA MAWELA LAND CLAIMS COMMITTEE, and two documents setting out for the land claims court details of the community's struggle against the company; the community's appeal for the restoration of its ancestral land; and the history of the community. These are now part of the submissions before the court, whose next hearing on the case is scheduled for 26 July 2006.
The community can be contacted c/o Tiny Mankge, Secretary of the Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee, cel +27-82-9417623.
The community is represented by Ms Durkje Gilfillan, Legal Resources Centre, tel. +27-11-8369831, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anglo Platinum can be contacted c/o Mr Simon Tebele, email@example.com
"Does the Ga Mawela case offer evidence of anti-black sentiments in Anglo Platinum? "
MEDIA STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12th July 2006
Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee THERE has been extensive coverage in the South African media in the past week of the appointment of Advocate Jurg Prinsloo SC by ANC leader Jacob Zuma to bring defamation charges against a number of publications and individuals for impugning his reputation.
The South African media have described Prinsloo as an apartheid bittereinder (stalwart) and anti-black. Prinsloo is former Conservative Party MP, and an opponent of liberal political reforms in South Africa under the former ruling National Party.
In the months prior to the first democratic elections in South Africa, Prinsloo indicated his political preferences by defending the assassins of the late South African Communist Party leader, Chris Hani, who was a close friend of Mvelaphanda owner Tokyo Sexwale. Mvelaphanda is a major black empowerment company in the mining sector in South Africa, and business partner to Anglo Platinum in various ventures.
Anglo Platinum hired Prinsloo in 2003 to fight a land claim brought against one of its mining properties by the Ga Mawela community. The property forms part of the der Brochen mining project which is 100 per cent owned by Anglo Platinum, and is regarded by the company as a strategic holding, on account of its water resources. The der Brochen project is located near Steelpoort, in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.
In June 2004 the community won the first stage of a dispute with Anglo Platinum in the Land Claims Court, Randburg, South Africa, which involved proving the legal validity of its land claim in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994. The land restitution process is part of the national land reform programme aimed at redressing past racial measures to dispossess black communities of their ancestral lands, which formed a key element of the process of subjugation of indigenous communities.
Anglo Platinum is planning to develop a dam which will flood land belonging to the Ga Mawela community. The water from the dam will supply the multi-billion rand der Brochen mine and adjacent Mototolo mine and processing plant. Mototolo is a joint venture with Xstrata and Kagiso Trust Investments.
Anglo Platinum has a joint venture with Tokyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Resources on the adjacent Booysendal mining properties.
An even more intriguing fact is that Anglo Platinum took over the brief to Prinsloo from the Transvaal Agricultural Union, which represented the previous land owner before the land was purchased by Rustenburg Platinum Mines, a subsidiary of Anglo Platinum, in 2003. The Transvaal Agricultural Union is known for its vehement opposition to land reform.
On appointing Prinsloo, Rustenburg Platinum Mines reneged on a signed agreement between the community and the company accepting the validity of the land claim; with the community agreeing not to develop residential settlement on the mineralised portions of the property.
"Prinsloo's interrogation of community members in the land claims court was reminiscent of mindset of the architects of apartheid and forced removals," states Tiny Mankge, secretary of the Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee.
"It is surely correct that the views expressed in court represent those of the client - therefore, it could be argued that the deployment of Prinsloo against the community indicates the mindset of senior management in Anglo Platinum, particularly when their business interests are threatened by a black community."
"I wonder if Anglo Platinum will ever apologise to the community for subjecting its leadership to the indignity of interrogation by an advocate of apartheid forced removals - and by implication racist policies? It can never be in the best interests of shareholders to oppose measures to address past racial actions by the apartheid state. The whole episode was highly offensive. The word racism comes to mind - but I gather this is a sensitive word in Anglo Platinum these days," says Mankge.
Mining and Communities has reported extensively on the dispute between communities and the Modikwa Platinum, a joint venture between African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo Platinum. The communities are engaged in a high court battle with the JV partners, and the JV has responded by bringing defamation charges against attorney Richard Spoor for accusing the company of racism, among other allegations.
Does the Ga Mawela case offer evidence of anti-black sentiments in Anglo Platinum?
HISTORY OF THE PRESENT STRUGGLE
By Mabutswe Lazarus Mankge, Chair, Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee
This report sets out for the Land Claims Court the current development challenges in the Greater Sekhukhune District, and the opportunity, with its own challenges, provided by the restoration of the farm St George to the community.
The Ga Mawela community has engaged in a difficult struggle since December 1997 to reclaim its ancestral land, which has strained the resources of the community to its limits.
The community lodged a claim on the farm St George in October 1998, which was published by the then Regional Land Claims Commissioner for Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in the Government Gazette in May 2000.
The Legal Resources Centre, Johannesburg, undertook to prosecute the claim on behalf of the community and sought to bring a "direct access" application to the Land Claims Court, given that the community had sufficient capacity to do so without assistance from the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.
In accordance with the processes set out in the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994, as amended, the claimants invited all interested and affected parties to participate in negotiations towards settling the land claim.
The former white land owners advised the claimants of their objection to the land claim and obtained legal advice from the Transvaal Agricultural Union against the claim.
In early discussions, Anglo Platinum indicated that it had no objection to the land claim and made a written agreement with the community that it would not oppose the claim, and the community would undertake not to develop settlement on the land in such a way that the mineral rights would be sterilized.
The claimants were taken by surprise when a subsidiary of Anglo Platinum, Rustenburg Platinum Mines, purchased the land from the previous land owners and rejected the agreement reached by Anglo Platinum - and then took up the same legal team appointed by the Transvaal Agricultural Union to oppose the claim.
In June 2004, the Land Claims Court made an order in favour of the Ga Mawela community, and instructed the community to proceed with developing a plan for the sustainable use and development of the farm St George.
The planning process itself posed new challenges for the community, firstly as a result of a dispute between the claimants and the office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner for Mpumalanga on the scope of work to be undertaken by consultants appointed to develop a plan for the community.
This resulted in an appeal by the claimants to the Land Claims Court for a directive to the Regional Land Claims Commissioner in terms of the Order of Court issued in July 2004, which resulted in the appointment of a second team of consultants to undertake the planning process.
The second team of consultants was appointed under a comprehensive terms of reference, and planning work began to proceed well.
The planning process was delayed by difficulties in obtaining official documentation from the Department of Minerals And Energy, as well as the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.
The Environmental Management Programme Report for the der Brochen mine was released by the Department of Minerals and Energy after a written appeal to the Minister for assistance, and legal letters of demand for the information.
This information was essential to the evaluation of the potential impact of mining on the farm, and the planning timeframes for such impacts - and confirmed information provided by Anglo Platinum in earlier discussions that it planned to access the minerals on the property from the neighbouring farm Helena through deep shafts with minimal surface impact.
Similarly, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, and its subsidiary structures, released information on the current water allocation to the farm St George, after persistent demands by the claimants. This information was vital as water is a critical resource which the community needs to develop fully the agricultural potential of the farm St.George.
In May 2006 the community received a formal Notice to Interested and Affected Parties as follows:
"Anglo Platinum Ltd is undertaking an environmental impact assessment (EIA) as required in terms of the EIA guidelines as well as the required Water Use License application in terms of the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) in order to determine the feasibility of constructing a 13.5 million m3 dam (Richmond Dam) within the Klein Dwars River catchment area.
"A project team, under the management of BKS (Pty) Ltd, together with EcoRisk SA (Pty) Ltd is conducting the required EIA in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, Act 73 of 1989.
The first phase of the EIA process is the Scoping Phase. This is the phase where public issues and concerns should be identified so that technical specialists can evaluate these during the next phase (the Impact Assessment Phase) of the EIA.
This Draft Environmental Scoping Report is part of a series of reports and information documents that will be issued during the EIA process. This Draft Environmental Scoping Report (ESR) is available for public comment from 4 May 2006 to 5 June 2006. All issues of concern and comments received during this period will be incorporated into the Final Environmental Scoping Report to be submitted to the regulatory authorities on 12 June 2006 together with the proposed plan of study for the environmental impact report (EIR)."
In further discussions with EcoRisk SA, it was established that Anglo Platinum had commenced with a study into water availability in the area, including the farm St George, soon after its purchase of the farm in 2003.
EcoRisk SA indicated that the proposed dam might flood some of the land comprising the farm St. George. However, according to a letter received from Grant Nelson of the legal Services, Anglo Platinum, this need not be necessarily the case. The community, through its representatives, is making every effort to defend its interests in the EIA process being conducted as part of the development of the proposed dam.
The community believes that it has made a viable case for the sustainable use and development of the farm St George. It believes that the restoration of the land is essential to the process of redress, which includes the reconstruction of cultural identity and human dignity.
The claim on the farm St George is the first successful claim in the Klein Dwars River valley.
The Regional Land Claims Commissioner for Mpumalanga Province has successfully resolved land claims on a number of surrounding farms in the Dwars River (Moletsi) valley, adjacent to Ga Mawela, including Kalkfontein (Masha), Frischewaacht (Masha/ Leshaba), de Grooteboom (Masha), Steelpoortpark (Rantho) , de Kafferskraal (Phetla), and others.
The records of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner for Mpumalanga show that much of land in the two valleys has been claimed back by its historical owners, which illustrates the disputed nature of current land ownership by the various mining companies.
It is hoped that the office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner for Mpumalanga Province will take forward its investigations of the remaining claims in the Klein Dwars River valley in due course.
This will allow for a fully integrated planning process to be undertaken, which will increase the viability of the overall development initiative by the Ga Mawela community.
According to the Joint Development Forum, an institution comprising mining companies and local government, it is foreseen that the town of Burgersfort will become a "Rustenburg" of Limpopo Province.
Although the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality's Growth and Development Strategy has identified mining as a major economic anchor for district, the contribution to the economy of the district to date by mining has been much lower than government services.
It is claimed that mining will have a significant impact on levels of unemployment with further opportunities being created as a result of multiplier effects brought about by the mining industry. Although it is envisaged that over 18,000 jobs will be directly created by mining between 2007 and 2009, it is clear that mining will not be a panacea for the socio-economic ills of the district.
Unemployment is a very serious issue for the Sekhukhune District, and it currently stands at 69% far more than the provincial average of 49%. This represents the lowest percentage of people in employment in all districts in both Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
The household survey conducted among the community shows that 77% of the claimants depend on some sort of a social grant from government; 11% of the claimants are in formal employment; and 12% are self-employed.
An alarming percentage of our youth of working age have no schooling, in fact the percentage is the highest in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. The percentage is more than twice that of the South African population. This makes many of the youth ineligible for work in the mines.
The development of the mines in the Dwars River valley will have little impact on employment opportunities among the Ga Mawela community, despite claims that the mines will bring sustainable employment to the region.
It is our hope that Anglo Platinum will adhere to the spirit of the Mining Charter and Scorecard, which sets out transparent guidelines for partnership between government, mining companies and local communities.
It is hoped that Anglo Platinum will in future engage with the Ga Mawela community constructively to the benefit of both. It is hoped, similarly, that various government departments involved in servicing the needs of the mining sector will do likewise.
The vision of the Ga Mawela Community for the development of the land is informed by the concepts of sustainable development and sustainable livelihoods.
Agriculture, particularly production for household food security purposes and local markets, will contribute more for the livelihoods of the members of the community in the short to medium term than the mines.
Ironically, the influx of skilled mine workers and revenue from other provinces into the area will create new markets for agricultural produce. The Ga Mawela community will seek to benefit from this situation.
In view of the fact that every square inch of the land surrounding St. George, in fact, nearly the entire Lydenburg District, is subject to land claims, the community has got no alternative to developing the farm St. George.
Even though the farm St George presents some physical constraints on development, it also has significant comparative advantages over a future of limited opportunities and dependence on social grants in the impoverished settlements of Greater Sekhukhune District.
The farm St George will make a significant contribution to household food security, and provide for extra income through the sale of surplus produce in local markets - and further afield, if possible, in the longer term.
Given that 66% of the income received by members of the Ga Mawela Community from government grants is spent on buying food, it is our hope that an improvement in the socio-economic status of the members of the community will allow more children to complete their formal schooling and, therefore, become eligible for jobs in the mining, tourism and related sectors - and for higher level education - in future.
Our research has shown that the livelihoods of the Ga Mawela community are representative of the Sekhukhune District. They are the poorest of the poor.
This is the ghastly legacy of the systematic dispossession of thousands of people from their ancestral lands in the Lydenburg District in the past seven decades, directly as a result of the enforcement of the apartheid's land laws.
The community therefore appeals to the Court to engage with its vision and to endorse its plan for the sustainable use and development of the farm St. George.
Maruping go ka boelwa!!!!!!!!
HISTORY OF THE GA MAWELA COMMUNITY
The District consists of five Local Municipalities, namely Groblersdal, Marble Hall and Tubatse, Fetakgomo and Makhuduthamaga, previously spreading over both the Mpumalanga and the Limpopo provinces, but now consolidated under the Limpopo Province in accordance with proclamation No. 422 dated 27 December 2005.
Ga Mawela is situated in the Klein Dwars River valley, known traditionally as Molototsi. The Dwars River ("Moletsi"), is itself a tributary of the Steelpoort ("Tubatse") River, which is a major tributary of the Olifants ("Lepelle") River.
The Dwars River follows the outlay of one of the richest mineral reefs in the world - the so-called Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex - with valuable deposits of chrome and platinum group metals (platinum, rhodium, palladium), and is the site of major new mining developments.
The subsidiary of Anglo American plc, know as Anglo Platinum, is at an advanced stage of the planning of the der Brochen Mine, which will impact on a number of farms in the Dwars River Valley, including the farm St George.
There are a number of other mining related developments in the locality, which have been the driving force behind the recent expansion of the towns of Steelpoort, Burgersfort, Ohrigstad and Lydenburg.
These towns are located approximately 300 kilometres from the economic hub of the Gauteng Province.
Adjacent to these towns are the impoverished settlements of the former Lebowa "homeland", also known as the "Kingdom of Sekhukhune", which has been an historical labour sending area for the Gauteng economy.
The settlements of GaSekhukhune include a complex mix of traditional villages, with a history as long as the occupation of the area by the BaPedi and other ethnic groups, and other settlements created as a result of the mass forced removals of communities living on "white farms" in terms of the apartheid policy.
The Ga Mawela community is typical of many of the communities removed from farms in the Lydenburg District of the former Transvaal Province in the period between the 1950s and 1970s .
The members of the community are scattered among various settlements and tribal authorities, including Maseven (Magolego), Ngwaabe (Rantho), GaMasha (Masha Nkotwane), Strydkraal (Masha), Mare-Ngwaritsi (Phetla), Molepane (Sekwati), Tafelkop (Matsepe) and the town of Jane Furse.
Some members of the community have established homes in the townships of Gauteng Province, but have retained cultural and familial ties to the community.
The livelihoods of the members of the community are typical of population of the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality, as reflected in recent studies conducted by the municipality for the purposes of its Integrated Development Plan (IDP), and it 2025 Development Strategy.
The following section outlines the historical use of the land by the community, its governance systems, and process of land dispossession, resulting in the scattering of members of the community in the GaSekhukhune area.
The Ga Mawela community is one of many groups that moved into the area known as the Lydenburg district in previous centuries, migrating between different places depending on external factors such as climate, conflicts and even wars.
According to the oral history of the community, the Bakone Ba Mankge group moved into area known as Ga Mawela in the early 1800s, and established itself under its Chief ("kgoshi") Marobele, the father of Mapale who succeeded Marobele as a chief.
The community was comprised of a number of clans (dikgoro), including Mashilangoako, Lelengoa, Leshaba, Maredi and Magane. The Ga Mawela area was divided up among these clans, and the affairs of the community were administered accordingly.
The land was allocated by the tribal council (moshate) under the leadership of the Bakone ba Mankge, and these practices continued until the final dispossession of the community. The white farmers gave some recognition to this situation in earlier days, and would consult with the kgoshi on certain decisions on land use, including the allocation of fields to new households moving on to the farm from outside.
The moshate practiced a system of traditional law under which matters were first dealt with at clan level, and then referred to the moshate, which would refer unresolved matters further to the Kingdom of Sekhukhune for adjudication.
The community was known for its powers as rainmakers, and was consulted on such matters by the Kingdom of Sekhukhune.
There are a number of sites of sacred importance to the community on the farm St George, including pools and caves, some of which remain secret to this day. The relationships between the Bakone ba Mankge group and the other makgoshi in the wider area were held together by bonds of marriage between houses, and these bonds remain strong to this day, despite the effects of dispossession on these communities as a whole.
The Ga Mawela community lived on the land by grazing their cattle, goats and sheep in the valleys and mountains of the area. Although the last recorded incidence of cattle disease in the valley was in the beginning of the last century, the communities managed this threat by grazing animals on the top of mountain ranges in the area during the hottest period in the year.
They also ploughed their fields twice in the year, producing, maize, sorghum (mabele), wheat, potatoes, sweet potatoes and varieties of indigenous beans. The community also kept pigs and chickens on the farm.
There are remains on the farm of the kraals used by the community to keep livestock, as well as the places used for grinding grains (malwala).
The social lives of the members of the community was typical of communities in the area, celebrating marriages, coming of age (initiation), births, rain and harvest. Events were also held to mourn deaths. A number of rituals were conducted, including grave cleaning and intercessions for good luck and for keeping the ancestors alive within the community.
Initiation was carried out in the farm and the remains of the initiation sites (mphato) can be seen on the farm. These initiation practices were used to transfer life-skills from generation to generation and create a sense of belonging among the male and female members of the community.
The initiation ceremonies at Ga Mawela were praised in the whole of Bokone (south of the Steelpoort River) and Sekhukhune area (north of the Steelpoort River) as there were no casualties. The traditional healers looking after the initiates were also used by most of the chiefs in the area to strengthen their communities against enemies and ill fortune.
The Mankge community was respected for their knowledge of various ailments and traditional medicines. People came to the community seeking remedies obtained in the mountains and valleys of the area which provide a diverse habitat for a number of medicinal plants and wild fruits.
The Ga Mawela community was self sufficient in many ways and there was active trading amongst communities in the area, for tools, craft materials and medicinal herbs. The valley has a rare type of river reed for making grain baskets and the community weaved for themselves and to trade with other communities in the area. Due to the secure water sources in the valley, the community was able to trade surpluses of wheat and other crops in the broader Sekhukhune area.
As was typical of the communities living in the area before occupation of the land by white settlers, the community built furrows along the valleys to irrigate their crops. The last white farmer (van den Berg) was still using the old furrow system to channel water from the various streams to the storage dams for irrigation. There are a number of perennial steams on the property, which has provided for the water needs of the community even during dry periods.
The rain making process not only provided for farming needs of the area, but was used as a way to preserve the environment. The community believed that the ritual of rainmaking would not be successful if the environment was littered and trees destroyed. As a result community regiments (mephato) took turns in ensuring that the mountains and the village were cleansed of all foreign materials.
The community was exceptionally angry when a number of ancient trees were destroyed by the introduction of commercial farming practices by white settlers.
The community, also referred as Batshwene (Tshwene =Baboon), planted crops on the outskirts of the fields to satisfy the needs of the baboons during the harvest period. In terms of the community's beliefs, baboons were regarded as highly intelligent, and could not be killed, but were to be preserved out of respect for their status as the tribal totem. Killing baboons was a taboo in which any person who killed a baboon would have been punished severely.
However, this changed with the white farmers coming onto the land as baboons were shot at random. In the period before permanent white settlement in the area, wild animals roamed freely in the valleys.
Young men were initiated in controlled hunting practices. Hunting expeditions were organised to also teach young men about the area and the resources in the area.
During the period while the community members were labour tenants on the property, the farmers used their labour to plant and harvest crops including, tobacco, sweet potatoes, maize, wheat and soya beans.
After the development of the Witwatersrand gold mines, members of the community began to migrate to urban centres to earn wages, some of which were sent as remittances to the families at Ga Mawela. This arrangement within households was a source of conflict with later white land owners as they began to enforce government policy that all members of households, including children were required to work twelve months without pay.
In addition it became increasingly difficult for households to retain their livestock, not only because of pressures on household labour, but as a result of confiscation of livestock by white landowners. The community was also not able to maintain their fields for the same reason.
In fact, the white landowners used the cattle belonging to the community to plough their fields, with unpaid labour from the community. In response to this abuse of their property and lives, the community hid their cattle in the mountains. The white land owner then forced them to plough the fields with their own bodies, pulling the plough under the lashes of a whip (sjambok).
This became unbearable for some members of the community, who left the farm, and others were arrested. This placed the leadership of the community in a very difficult position as they faced expulsion from their ancestral land and, eventually, some cattle were brought back to the farm for the use of the farmer.
THE PROCESS OF DISPOSSESSION
The history of dispossession of the community is relevant in that it is typical of the experience of dispossession among communities in the Lydenburg area, and particularly in the area surrounding St George.
Date Event Laws or policy related to event
1830s The ancestors of the claimant group occupied the area known as Ga Mawela, a part of which is now known as the farm St George 2JT, formerly 223 (according to some correspondence in the national archives, known as Saint George 1160 or 1166), in the district of Lydenburg, in extent 2640 Morgen 234 Square Roods.
The names of rivers, mountains and places in the locality refer to ancestors of the Mankge group. For example, a stream on the property now known as the remaining extent of the farm is still called Mapaalspruit, after the ancestor Mapale.
The Mankge group were known as rainmakers and also were involved in the ritual initiation of Pedi chiefs in the practice of rain making. The group was allocated the land by paramount of the Pedi polity in terms of the indigenous or customary laws in operation at the time. 1871 The Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek issued a Grondbrief in favour of HJG Korf. Korf sold the farm within a year. See Deeds Register
The practice of the former ZAR was to grant farms to officials in lieu of salaries cf. Delius, P, 1983, p 126ff
1871-1912 The farm as a whole was transferred between 10 successive registered owners until it became the property of JJ Smith in 1912. r 1916-1922 The farm as a whole was transferred to FA Booyse and in 1917 to AW Booyse.
About 1925 The first white person arrived on the farm and informed the heads of the families comprising the Mankge group that he was the registered owner of the farm and that he wanted 3 months free labour (without pay). The Mankge group agreed to this condition under the circumstances. The labour tenancy system was established on the farm. Under this regime, the Mankge group were able to maintain their fields and cattle, largely without restriction.
The Native Land Act 1913 began a process leading to the elimination of more independent forms of tenure such as rental tenancy and sharecropping, in favour of more dependant forms of tenure such as labour tenancy. Black persons resident on white-owned land, who were regarded as "squatters" by law, increasingly begin to feel the effects of the so-called Transvaal Law 21 of 1895, the so-called plakkerwet, particularly if they refused the mandatory requirement of 3 months free labour in lieu of wages in return for the right to stay on the land (labour tenancy).
1922-1955 The farm as a whole is transferred to JJ Smith (again) and is later subdivided into Portion A "Erfdeel" and a Remaining Extent. In the course of the next 33 years the two portions of the farm were divided into one-third shares resulting from the deceased estates of the various members of the Smith family. The Masters and Servants Law (Transvaal and Natal) Amendment Act, 1926, bound labour tenants to a particular farmer and extended free labour requirements in terms of labour tenancy contracts from three to six months. 1945 At this time there are 11 households living on the farm, which have homesteads, fields and cattle.
The Mankge group was required to render 6 months free labour without pay, as was the wide-spread practice in the Lydenburg district (see Schirmer, 1994: p121).
Some members of the Mankge group refuse to work under these conditions and were evicted. These were:
Nkwapeng William Mankge Jacob Nkgolwane Mankge
The Native Service Contract Act, 1932, extended labour tenancy contracts to the entire family for a 6 month period. The Act contains a whipping clause.
Chapter IV of the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, was proclaimed in the Lydenburg district in 1937. Chapter IV repealed the plakkerwet, but enacted new eviction procedures. Section 38 of the Act gave all Black families evicted as a result of its provisions, a claim on land in the so-called Native Trust area i.e. farms acquired by former SA Development Trust. Labour tenants had to be registered at a Native Commissioner's office, and in terms of the state-regulated contracts, labour tenants had to provide at least 4 months free labour. In terms of the practice of the time, an average farm was said to require five labour tenants working for six months a year.
Labour Tenant Control Boards could order farmers to evict surplus labour tenants. A "native" unlawfully residing on the land could, after an enquiry by a local native commissioner, be ejected from the land summarily by the police. In 1938, the Native Affairs Department agreed, as a result of pressure from white farmers in the Lydenburg district, to increase the required period of free labour from four months to 6 months (see Schirmer, 1994: p 123)
1955 The various shares in the two portions of the farm were consolidated (Certificate of Consolidated Title T31480/5) and the farm was divided into three portions, 1,2 and a Remaining Extent.
These portions were divided among three members of the Smith family: Willem Abraham Smith (Portion 1), Jacomina Hendrina Ackerman (Portion 2) and Elsie Margaretha Susanna Claasen (Remaining Extent)
1956 EMS Claasen sold the Remaining Extent to JH Ackerman, owner of Portion 2.
1945-59 The farm was visited regularly by police from Lydenburg who conducted pass inspections.
In 1957 pass arrests were made, and people not working on the farm were jailed for 3-4 months Some people refuse to provide labour under these stricter conditions. They were evicted with their households. These included:
Buti Mankge Mohlogoane Mankge Tshubelela Mankge Lekgema Mankge 1958 Portion 1 was divided into shares among the heirs of WA Smith.
1959 JH Ackerman sold Portion 2 and the Remaining Extent of the farm to George Edgar Barnes. The Mankge group gave Barnes the name "Tang", alluding to his cruelty.
Families were required to work 12 months without cash wages, although they did receive some payment in kind e.g., bags of maize. They were also required to reduce the number of cattle grazing on the farm. As a result of the restrictions imposed, they did not have enough time to grow crops independently.
The Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, was amended by the Native Trust and Land Amendment Act, 1954, particularly to ensure stricted enforcement by Labour Tenant Control Boards of provisions on labour tenancy, particularly to encourage farmers to employ Blacks as full-time labourers. The amendment required farmers to register labour tenants annually, and the registration fee for labour tenants was increased progressively. The number of labour tenant families was restricted to five.
The amendment removed the provision in the 1936 Act placing a binding provision on the Native Affairs Department to find alternative land for Blacks evicted as a result of the law.
During this period the state purchased a number of new farms within the "released areas" defined under the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, was amended by the Native Trust and Land Amendment Act, 1954.
These farms were used to resettle thousands of households removed from farms in the neighbouring white areas in so-called "closer settlements" (rural townships) with minimal access to land for farming purposes.
1963 GE Barnes sells Portion 2 and the Remaining Extent of the farm to Jan Christiaan Nel. Families are still required to work 12 months without cash wages. Families manage to grow crops on their fields.
1967 The last remaining member of the Mankge group living on Portion 1 (on the border of the neighbouring farm Richmond) is evicted. He is:
Shere "Boy" Mankge 1969 JC Nel sells Portion 2 and the Remaining Extent of the farm to Johannes Hermanus van den Berg. Van den Berg, known as "Mogatiane", a name which refers to his cruelty, started to pay people cash wages (10c/day for adults, 5c/ day for children).
The Bantu Laws Amendment Act, 1964, repealed the Native Service Contract Act, 1932, and further amended Chapter IV of the Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, effectively setting the scene for the final abolition of labour tenancy in most parts of the country by the mid-1970s.
1959-1986 By 1959, after persistent pass arrests, only five of the orginal eleven households living on Portion 2 and the Remaining Extent of the farm remained.
Members of these families are subjected to increasingly harsh conditions over time until in 1986 families were not allowed any fields for ploughing, and families left the farm gradually under the circumstances. They were:
Gantshe Mankge Tsibisi Leshaba Lepono Mankge Mpurana Mankge
In 1986, only the household of Burwana Mankge remained.
he Native Trust and Land Act, 1936, was amended by the Native Trust and Land Amendment Act, 1954, particularly to ensure stricted enforcement by Labour Tenant Control Boards of provisions on labour tenancy, particularly to encourage farmers to employ Blacks as full-time labourers. The amendment required farmers to register labour tenants annually, and the registration fee for labour tenants was increased progressively. The number of labour tenant families was restricted to five.
1987 After Burwana Mankge died in 1986, his widow remained on the property until she was arrested and evicted, together with the members of the household i.e. children and daughter-in-law, from her home in 1987. The reasons given for the eviction was that she was old and her children were working elsewhere. She did not have time to harvest her crops.
Those who stay on the farm today have become ordinary farmworkers. The eviction was probably done in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act, 1951, alternatively the Trespass Act, 1959.
The members of the community are scattered among various settlements and tribal authorities, including Maseven (Magolego), Ngwaabe (Rantho), GaMasha (Masha Nkotwane), Strydkraal (Masha), Mare-Ngwaritsi (Phetla), Molepane (Sekwati), Tafelkop (Matsepe) and the town of Jane Furse. RECONSTRUCTING THE COMMUNITY
The land claim process has resulted in the reversal of the process of dispersal of the members of the various clans and their component households.
The community, under the leadership of the late kgoshi Maruping Isak Mankge, and his brother, Mabutswe Lazarus Mankge, who was elected Chair of the Ga Mawela Land Claims Committee, has held numerous meetings of the clans in various locations to obtain a mandate to proceed with lodging the land claim, as well as for subsequent decisions.
This process has resulted in the recording of oral history, which had been submerged in the diaspora, initiating the healing of the pain felt by members of the community as a result of humiliation by the white landowners and the apartheid state, and the restoration of various traditions among the younger generation. This has included the recruitment of specialized skills among the different generations, particularly youth who have overcome their context and studied in institutions of higher learning.
It needs to be stated that, despite some progress made by the broader community, profile is consistent with the demographics of the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality.