AFRA News, Labour tenants

Help us bring further comfort and dignity to Zabalaza Mshengu

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In July 2017, AFRA urged you to join us in dedicating your time and energy to bring some comfort and dignity to 103-year-old Zabalaza Mshengu and assist us in building him a room after we found him in a dire condition during a visit. You can read his story here, and help us spread the word: https://afra.co.za/2017/05/16/struggle/

From previous donations, we had R4,100 in the Mshengu Building Fund, a further R3,992 was donated to the fund a few days after the call for support was made. In total we were able to raise R8,092. We thank everybody who has supported Mshengu thus far for their generous contributions.

Because of the slow-moving wheels of justice in Mshengu’s land claim and legal processes, the building of Mshengu’s house had to be temporarily postpone, and only commenced in November, and we managed to complete the laying of the foundation. After more than 10 years of working with and frequently visiting Mshengu, we have never seen him happier.

There are costs to the building which we hadn’t anticipated, including the cost of delivery of the materials to the farm. This has affected the cost our builder (who has given of his time for free) had estimated for the 1-roomed house. Building materials have been bought, however we still need more to be able to finish the house adquately. The AFRA team and other volunteers are committed to continuing with the building over the holidays to ensure that Mshengu enters the New Year in his new house.

We appeal to you to continue to help us bring some comfort and dignity to Mshengu, as for this time of the year reminds us about giving, a time to remember others less fortunate than ourselves, a time for families to come together and celebrate the birth of Christ. And what better way to celebrate your Christmas by giving to this remarkable old man.

We would also value donations of food, blankets, or anything that will help Mshengu enjoy his Christmas.

Donations can be made to the account below or cash or in-kind donations given to our Receptionist, Faith. For more information or to get involved, please contact Nokuthula on Nokuthula@afra.co.za / 076 754 7110.

Name of Account: Association for Rural Advancement
Reference: Mshengu
Bank: First National Bank
Acc no: 50950020963
Branch Code: 223125

Update on the Legal Process:

Zabalaza Mshengu’s land claim remains unresolved, despite the Courts declaring him a labour tenant in 2007 – more than a decade ago. In July this year, the matter was referred back to Court for a third time for the settlement of the purchase price. The court ordered that the landowners and the Director General for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) appoints the land valuers within 30 days of the order. The DRDLR have failed to comply with this court order, and AFRA continues to engage the DRDLR to push for their compliance with the court directive.

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AFRA News, Land News

Pathways Project Maps Farm Dweller Visions

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We have reached the halfway point of the three-year Pathways Project, and achieved amazing milestones in this short period. In the first half of the project the project team successfully completed a detailed research survey with 850 farm dweller households in the uMgungundlovu District, which has provided a rich and detailed picture of the current realities of farm dwellers. There has been continuous stakeholder engagement throughout the project, which includes government officials, farm dwellers, community based organisations, land owners and commercial farmers. In keeping with the AFRA principle of inclusivity, and the approach of being led by farm dwellers themselves, six visioning workshops were planned to be held with local municipalities in the project area during November and December 2017. The visioning workshops are designed to bring together local stakeholders in the form of a focus group, in order for them to discuss the current situation on farms, and brainstorm possible models that would unlock new possibilities for the future. The methodology used by AFRA in facilitation of these focus groups is one that affords participants an opportunity to illustrate their experiences and proposals visually using pictures and icons.

We have already successfully conducted three of the six planned workshops in uMngeni, Impendle and Richmond municipalities. It has been an awakening and exciting experience to participate in these workshops. The content that emerged from local people who have a good understanding of the conditions on farms is invaluable. It has been impressive to observe people living on farms, particularly youth, discuss, debate and explore pathways to sustainable livelihoods. The majority of participants during these workshops submitted that the solution is not to replace the current owners of land with the current occupiers of land, but rather to find a way to coexist. This is evident in many of the visual illustrations where icons representing land owners and those representing occupiers are plotted on the same farm as depicted in the image below:

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We look forward to the three upcoming visioning workshops. Once we have conducted, analysed and reported on all six workshops we will be in a position to map out the results at a district level. We will then return to all six local municipalities to meet again with the participants to present the models that emerged from the process as a whole, and identify the overall synergies and patterns that emerge.

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AFRA News, Labour tenants

Advancing Farm Dweller’s Access to Water and Sanitation through the Courts

AFRA has brought a legal application against a number of land owners and municipalities in order to highlight local and district municipalities failure to provide farm dwellers and labour tenants with access to water, adequate sanitation and refuse collection, as well as their failure to prioritise the rights of occupiers and labour tenants in their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).

After many years of attempting to secure access to basic services for farm dwellers, the Legal Resources Centre has prepared and filed a court application on these matters on behalf of affected farm dwellers and AFRA. There is an extensive legal and policy framework that substantiates the case, including those requiring municipalities to assist farm dwellers with prioritisation of their rights to access sufficient water, sanitation and collection of refuse in their IDPs.

AFRA has assisted nearly two hundred farm dwellers and labour tenants who claim they do not have access to basic services. In many cases, when they approach their municipalities to raise their concerns, municipal officials inform them that farm owners prevent them from gaining access to their farms, thereby obstructing them from providing basic municipal services to farm dwellers.

Through its application, AFRA is attempting to ensure that municipalities install a sufficient number of water user connections to supply a minimum quantity of portable water of 25 litres per person per day, at a minimum flow rate of not less than 10 litres per minute, and within 200 meters of each of household. In addition, municipalities must provide farm dwellers with access to basic sanitation by installing Ventilation Improved Pit (“the VIP”) toilets per household, and provide the collection of refuse.

The most basic services being demanded by farm dwellers and labour tenants have long been viewed as a basic human right by many South Africans. The absence of these services reflects how deeply prejudicial and harmful it is to continue treating farm dwellers and labour tenants as second-class citizens, voiceless and forgotten by those tasked to improve their lives in accordance with our Constitution.

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Employment Opportunity

Research and Policy Co-ordinator

AFRA is a leading land rights organisation in South Africa, having been established in 1979 to oppose the eviction of black people under Apartheid legisaltion and policies. Today, we continue to serve the interests and needs of rural people, with a primary focus on farm dwellers. We are seeking to appoint an skilled individual to join our dynamic, growing team in this exciting new role.

A letter of motivation, a Curriculum Vitae, three contactable references from previous managers, and a relevant sample of written work should be submitted to Laurel Oettle on laurel@afra.co.za with a cc to faith@afra.co.za by the 16th January 2018.

AFRA reserves the right not to make an appointment; only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AFRA is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women and historically disadvantaged individuals are encouraged to apply. For more information on AFRA, please refer to www.afra.co.za.

Job Summary:

Title:                          Research and Policy Co-ordinator
Location:                  Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Reports to:               Programmes Manager
Start Date:                Immediately

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