Organisationally, the global economic crisis experienced in 2010 presented some challenges. At the beginning of 2010 CALUSA was financially sound and this was seen as giving the organisation some breathing space to develop long-term strategies for financial sustainability. By the end of 2010 the high spirits had disappeared as a deep financial crisis stared members of the organisation in the face. Although we were aware that the healthy financial state could not last forever, we never anticipated that the situation would change so suddenly.
As a consequence of the funding problem, at the beginning of November the board took the decision of terminating employment contracts of three staff members. The decision taken as a result of the funding crisis did not mean that the organisation was on the verge of closing down, instead, staff and board members were more resolved than ever to rebuild the organisation.
ENGAGING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Lack of democracy in governance in rural South Africa is one of the areas that concern CALUSA. The lack of democratisation is demonstrated by the fact that South Africa has allowed an institution of unelected traditional leaders to be part of rural governance. Consequently, Headmen are imposed on rural communities and villages by tradition leaders in various parts of the Eastern Cape. One such area where a Headman was imposed is Tsengiwe in the Sakhisizwe local municipality. CALUSA works with the Committee of 13 in Tsengiwe in its attempts to challenge the imposition of a Headman on people of the area. A focus of CALUSA’s was to ensure that the Committee of 13 was part of the meetings of Siyazakha Land and Development Forum, to share their experiences with regard to their struggle. CALUSA also put the Committee of 13 into contact with the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). A series of meetings have been held with the (LRC) with the aim of building a court case to challenge the power of the traditional leaders.
CALUSA also collaborated with other organisations in the Eastern Cape around a provincial workshop on the status of traditional leaders. It was co-hosted by the following organisations: Border Rural Committee; CALUSA; Masifunde; Masimanyane; Ilizwi Lamafama; Law, Race and Gender Unit; Legal Resources Centre; Rural People’s Movement; SANCO; Tralso; and Zingisa. This workshop was as a result of extensive discussions between the NGO sector in the province and the Law, Race and Gender Unit of the University of Cape Town.
In addition, through a partnership with Masifunde CALUSA conducted participatory research in Upper Indwana, one of the villages in the Sakhisizwe municipality. The research intended to deepen understanding on the role played by traditional leaders in service delivery, rural development and land administration in the Eastern Cape. Five community volunteers in Upper Indwana were identified to help gather data through interviews and focus group discussions.
Leadership building is part of movement building, because without a dynamic leadership the movement will not move forward. Thus, in the year under review, leadership building was central in movement building efforts. In 2010, eight leaders of Siyazakha and a staff member participated in a leadership development programme that TCOE organised.
The main aim of the school is to build a layer of leaders able to engage and intersect with political, social and economic issues in the country. The Leadership School has helped to develop an understanding of the history of land dispossession from colonialism to the apartheid state. Leaders feel that their confidence has grown and that they are able to engage in debates at various levels. This claim was made by leaders during a review session that was organised in November 2010.
As part of support to Siyazakha, CALUSA allocated the forum an office. A consequence of the decision was that Siyazakha took more responsibility for organising its own meetings. Due to the collection of membership and subscription fees, the forum was enabled to fund transportation as well as catering costs for its meetings. This is a good sign of self-organisation. However, outstanding membership fees and regular subscription fees remain a challenge for Siyazakha.
CALUSA continued to assist and lend support to Limefuya farming group with regard to access to a state land in the Beestekraal area. The group consists of seven members. Members have been on this state farm since the late 1980s. In 2001 the farm was one of the farms that the Department of Land Affairs (now Department of Rural Development and Land Reform) leased to Africans for the purpose of farming. There is currently a dispute between the farm dwellers and a farmer who claims the farm as his. To determine the disputed boundaries of the farm, the Department contracted a surveyor to investigate the issue. The Department is still awaiting a report from the surveyor.
SUPPORT TO GROUPS ON FARMS
As part of movement building, the organisation continues to support groups on farms. In the period under review, CALUSA continued to support five LRAD groups in Sakhisizwe and Emalahleni local municipalities, viz. Delindlala, Funokuhle, Mqondiso-Vukuzenzele, Imiche and Lukhanyo. The support given to these groups include field visits to assist them to plan their activities.
Delindlala is a farming group of 20 families who all come from Luphaphasi. The group acquired a 2029 ha farm in 2001. The farm is about five kilometres from the small farming town of Indwe.
At the beginning of 2010 Delindlala received R4,9 million funding from SURUDEC (Sustainable Rural Development in the Eastern Cape) for restructuring farming operations. The restructuring required that the elderly members be relieved and to go back to the village. Younger people were given the task of running the project in a restructured form. The elderly members will benefit from dividends which will be shared at the end of the year.
Funokuhle is a family farm that belongs to Mr David Kiyane. It is a good example of a farm that practises sustainable farming in that the family does not use fertilisers in its production system. The family is able to feed itself and still produce surplus that is sold to the villages and in Elliot. In 2010, the group still had more than 10 bags of maize from the previous year’s production.
Imiche is a family group with 15 members which was established in 2008. The farm is 1000 ha. In 2009 the group planted maize on 16 ha and harvested 387 bags of maize in 2010, the bulk of which was sold. The maize production was part of the government support through the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa in the Eastern Cape (ASGISA-EC).
In addition, through the ASGISA support programme, the group acquired 32 cows in 2009 as part of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s “Livestock Improvement Programme” in the Sakhisizwe local municipality. Last year these cows had 25 calves. According to their agreement with the Department, the farmers are expected to sell heifers in order help them repay the low-interest loan from the government. Last year Mqondiso-Vukuzenzele sold eight of the calves.
BUILDING RURAL WOMEN’S MOVEMENT
As part of movement building, CALUSA supported activities aimed at organising rural women. Toward this end, CALUSA and other affiliates of TCOE participated in a national workshop organised by Action Aid in the Gauteng Province. The workshop was a build-up to August which is recognised as women’s month. One of the important resolutions reached in the workshop was to have one common campaign that will help in mobilising women. It was agreed that the issue of food sovereignty is critical for rural people, especially rural women.
CALUSA and Siyazakha established a working committee to plan, organise and co-ordinate activities of a local women’s day celebration. Community consultation meetings were held in Roma, Upper Indwana, Luphaphasi, Mnxe and Cala Reserve, to prepare and organise women. An event, which had an attendance of 150 people, was held at Delindlala Communal Property Association. The theme for the event was “Women’s access to land, water and services to improve food security”. During the event the speakers emphasised the need for women to create a space for dialogue where they share experiences. Food sovereignty was a key topic of emphasised of the discussions. During the workshop Siyazakha shared with delegates the organic seeds that the leaders had collected.
A challenge is building a layer of leadership that represents every member of the community. The lack of young people and women in leadership positions is however problematic. Discussions to address this situation have been initiated by Siyazakha and CALUSA. As part of the discussion an agreement has been reached that youth be engaged in debates about their role in rural development issues.
LEARNING THROUGH EXCHANGE VISITS
In June 2010 CALUSA hosted community members and staff members from Bio-Watch in Bizana. The visit was aimed to share their experiences as well as to learn from members of Siyazakha on the implementation of organic farming methods. The visit, which was over four days, offered an opportunity for members of both Siyazakha and Bio-Watch to exchange and learn.
CALUSA, working in partnership with the Health Care Trust, the Xhalanga Community Advice Centre and Madiba Project in Indwe, have provided assistance to a food security project in Luphaphasi. CALUSA is a lead organisation in this project that was funded through the Premier’s Discretionary Fund. This role includes social mobilisation, monitoring, and sourcing and accounting for the funds. The amount for the current and last phase of the project was R119 000.
In August CALUSA facilitated a meeting in Luphaphasi to assess progress of the project as well as to discuss further capacity building sessions offered by other partner organisations.
Two training sessions were conducted, namely on food as a human rights issue and on nutrition. Xhalanga Advice Centre focused on human rights in the Ntsinga location while the Health Care Trust provided training on nutrition in MaQwathini. The training focused on the general public in the two communities. Thirty participants attended the training in Ntsinga and 25 members attended the other training in MaQwathini.
NETWORKS AND LOBBYING
As part of spreading its networks, CALUSA sent two staff members to a seminar on food security that was organised by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in Cape Town. The theme of the seminar was “The right to food: Strategies for agrarian reform and food sovereignty”.
The organisation participates in a District Land Rights Forum in the Chris Hani District municipality. The forum involves a wide range of organisations and institutions and includes advice centres, the white commercial farmers’ union, municipalities and government departments such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. Although the forum was formed to share concerns about tenure issues for farm workers in the district, CALUSA has successfully argued that all land reform issues be discussed in the forum. The reason for adopting such a position was not to undermine issues of farm workers. CALUSA’s approach is that tenure issues of farmworkers are tied to the whole issue of land and agrarian transformation in South Africa. Their land issues cannot be successfully addressed without dealing with land and agrarian transformation in its entirety.
In previous meetings we argued for an investigation of the sales of land reform farms by some beneficiaries, which in some instances resulted in farm evictions. Our argument was that the evictions were as a result of the sale of farms by beneficiaries which symbolised the failure of land and agrarian reform in South Africa. We argued for an investigation to develop a deeper understanding of why some beneficiaries were re-selling the farms. We also argued that the evictions emanating from the sale of the farms be treated as priority cases as they represented land dispossession by other means. CALUSA presented the case of farm dwellers who are being evicted by the farm owner in Dordrecht. This case has also been referred to the Rural Legal Resources Centre in Queenstown. We also provided moral support to one of the families that were evicted after the sale of their farm by the CPA chairperson. The farm was sold to a white farmer who intends to convert the farm into a game farm. The case was heard in court and the eviction order was dismissed. We sat in on the case and thereafter held discussions with the family. We also held consultations with the legal team that the Department hired on behalf of the family.