Unemployment in these areas is extremely high with the only source of income being seasonal work and state grants. The limited land redistribution in the district (less than 5% of land redistributed) has been an absolute failure with many of the land reform projects collapsing, due to the lack of support in the form of farm equipment, farm inputs and management expertise.
The end result is that many of these farms are in debt, some have been liquidated and others are not used optimally. Some of the beneficiaries have since lost interest due to difficulties in farming.
Given the lack of jobs in the area, the local municipalities are the main employers. Many people migrate to nearby cities such as Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth to try and find work. The strategic location of the municipality is a source of conflict with the local elite as it is being used for accumulating wealth and dispensing patronage and settling political scores. The Sundays River Valley municipality is currently in turmoil as a result of the political battle for control. The situation is less pronounced in other municipalities although all are slow to implement delivery of basic services. The end result is a hamstrung municipality incapable of performing its functions.
In the period under review Khanyisa was able to achieve the following successes:
- Revive some of its weak and/or defunct structures in its area of operation;
- Strengthen its participation in district and provincial processes;
- Secure funding from Foundation for Human Rights;
- Secure funding from SURUDEC - Sustainable Rural Development in the Eastern Cape funded by the European Union, Eastern Cape Province Office of the Premier and Promotion of Rural Livelihoods); MIVA and Fastenopfer;
- A very successful Women’s Day Celebration event in Enon-Basheeba, where more than 100 participants attended from Hankey, Mabhida, Addo and Glen Corner, as well as Khanyisa staff and members of the Regional Board of Trustees;
- Organisational review conducted in March 2010 which laid the basis for restructuring within the organisation and improved capacity development for staff;
- 6 Members of Makukhanye attended two leadership schools presented by TCOE.
In May 2010 the Makukhanye Rural People’s Movement was launched. One of the key achievements of 2010 is that the membership of the movement has grown since its launch to almost 1,300 members. A big part of its success has been support for the work of rural women. The following organisational building activities were organised:
- Makukhanye constitution drafted;
- Makukhanye program of action developed;
- Integration of the SURUDEC program with the regional plans;
- Action reflection meetings for assessing progress, problems and planning;
- A definition of the role of office bearers of Makukhanye and its sub committees.
Most of the field visits conducted, were aimed at assisting each Makukhanye affiliate to design a monthly program of action which will clarify the roles between the organisation, Makukhanye and the community structures.
In this reporting period, Khanyisa focused on working with communities in accessing land and information sharing on land rights and rights to other natural resources. In all local community structures, local government engagement for access to resources became an integral part of the work completed in this period.
The Gamtoos Valley Farmers’ Association engaged local government on different issues such as water and grazing land. The Land Bank was also targeted regarding land repossession. Huge outstanding water bills were scrapped due to the on-going lobbying by the farming association and their written submissions to officials at the local municipal offices.
Sundays River Valley communities requested a tractor and other implements from their local municipality. Proposals were forwarded to local departments and the communities were promised feedback in the new financial year.
Through the assistance of Khanyisa, small/emerging farmers attended various farmer exchanges and training on alternative farming technologies, e.g. organic farming and permaculture training. The aims are to increase productive land use and the food security in these rural settings.
LAND RIGHTS FORUM
In this reporting period, Khanyisa participated in the quarterly Land Rights Multi-stakeholder Forum where the organisation raised awareness around matters affecting land reform beneficiaries. Such matters included the threat of liquidation and the nature of support needed by farmers.
Khanyisa participated in these regional and provincial meetings. Small farmers were organised to speak with one voice when it comes to land access and land redistribution, and to share experiences with other farmers in these sessions of civil society groupings.
Kuyasa Social Movement
The organisation supported the Kuyasa Land Claims group in Uitenhage. The group was put in touch with the relevant legal support group, i.e. The Human Rights Commission and a case study on local farm evictions was undertaken with the assistance of Rhodes University students. A DVD was produced with interviews and findings of the research, highlighting these evictions, as well as the exploitation of farm dwellers and workers by white farmers during apartheid. The organisation will use this DVD as a tool to stimulate discussions during workshop sessions on human rights issues, capitalism and poverty.
BUILDING RURAL WOMEN
In the process of strengthening the Women's Forum, Khanyisa facilitated a regional workshop for women leaders in all the areas where the organisation operates. The workshop focused on the oppression, exploitation and challenges facing women in the household and at community level.
A big part of the work completed by Khanyisa in this reporting period was to revive local household gardens. Together with Makukhanye, Khanyisa fieldworkers identified local women to engage in the process of local household gardening. Some seeds were supplied to these women and this project will be expanded over the next period.
Monthly discussions and Education Forum Workshops were held in the district on policies that impact on land and local government. The aim and objectives of the workshops were to understand the role of local municipalities and to deepen civil society understanding of their role in promoting public participatory democracy and accountability in local municipalities.
A total of 30 participants representing community structures and farming associations, participated in this two-day workshop. Seventy percent of the participants were women. The areas included Hankey, Moses Mabhida, Bersheba/Enon, Parteson, Glen Connor, Dunbroody, Addo and Uitenhage.
The organisation has in the course of implementing its program, negotiated partnerships with other organisations and institutions such a Rhodes University, RDSP (Rural Development Support Program) and SCLICK. The organisation also took part in other networking activities in the province such as the Eastern Cape NGO coalition.
Khanyisa together with community representatives is actively participating in a forum that seeks to facilitate greater cooperation of community organisations, working on land and related matters in the Eastern Cape. Khanyisa was represented in a civil society consultation process organised to discuss the Presidency's poverty alleviation strategy. Khanyisa is also part of Fasternopfer Eastern Cape Regional structure which consists of DELTA, Umthathi and the Aliwal North Diocese.
The biggest challenge in the area is the failure of land reform projects due to the lack of support from government. During the seasonal period it is not easy to have collective meetings or training workshops as most of the leadership are at work. The shortage of staff has also impacted on the operations of the organisation. There are challenges in getting the community structures and local leadership to assist in implementing the program work. Despite active leadership of the stock farmers in all the areas where we work, the organisational structures remain very weak.
Although 2010 had its challenges, the achievements far outweigh these. The organisation is better equipped to improve on its work and its impact in 2011 and we look forward to the challenges that the New Year may bring.
Key Priorities for 2011 include:
- Continuing the progress of restructuring Khanyisa;
- To promote right to food and food sovereignty through a campaign for access to land;
- To strengthen the institutional and political capacity of Makukhanye.
- Strengthening governance at Khanyisa;
- Strengthen community organising strategies through establishment of community projects.