Kalkfontein Community Trust
Submission on the Communal Land Rights Bill to the Portfolio Committee on
Agriculture and Land Affairs, National Assembly. November 2003
We are the descendants of the original co-buyers of the farm Kalkfontein "B &C" and therefore the current owners of the farm. We still live on the farm. The farm Kalkfontein 143JR was bought by two sets of co-buyers in the 1 920s, each forming a separate community. Although the communities live on the same farm, each owns a separate portion of the farm, portions 'A.' and portions 'B&C'. Each portion has its own boundaries.
The portion today know as Portion 'A' was originally described as the remaining extent of the farm Kalkfontein 143JR. This portion was bought by the predecessors of the community now residing on Portion A, in terms of title deed T3458/1923.
The portions generally know as Portions B&C were originally described as the remaining extent
of portion A (also known as portion B) and portion 1 of portion A (also known as portion C).
This land was bought by a group of co-owners separate from those who bought Kalkfontein A.
Hence the two communities at Kalkfontein form two separate entities for all purposes.
In the case of both portion A and portion B&C, the land was registered in the name of the then
Minister of Native Affairs, to hold in trust for the co-owners of the different portions. The title
deed number for Kalkfontein A is T3458/1923 and for Kalkfontein B&C are T545/l 924 and
The communities resident at Kalkfontein never had a tribal affiliation, never fell under a chief, and bought their land as co-owners, not in any tribal context. It is for this reason that the land was registered in the name of the Minister of Native Affairs to hold the land in Trust, in keeping with the government policy at that time.
For many years, the communities at Kalkfontein each elected their own community committees, known as Kgotlas, which administered the land use and development and allocated right in land.
During 1986, KwaNdebele was due to become 'Independent' in terms of the separate development (apartheid) policy. In keeping with this policy, KwaNdebele had to be divided into tribal authorities, namely Ndzundza-Mapoch, Manala, Kwa-Litho, Pungutsha-Ndzundza (Kalkfontein). Each tribal authority had to have its own tribal area. The powers-that-be at the time decided to take the whole farm Kalkfontein as a single entity and put this under the artificially created tribal area of Pungutsha-Nduundza Tribal Authority. No such tribal area had existed in the past and nor was it known in any other way. The creation of such a tribal area ignored the independent rights of the two communities resident at Kalkfontein which were henceforth administered as a single legal entity.
In 1979, one Daniel Mahlangu was appointed chief over the new tribal area, despite resistance from the two communities.
The impostion of chieftainship has caused many problems for our community, including:
All of this is happening without consultation with the occupiers of the land, who are also the rightful owners, and without benefiting us in any way.
Regarding the Communal Lands Rights Bill, we were not informed or consulted. We heard about just recently through our lawyers. The timing was very short and inappropriate. We had to rush from Mpumalanga to Cape Town at short notice to make our presentation.
Previous Action Taken to Secure our Land Rights
1. In 1990 the Kruger Commission was established in order to look into the problems of chieftainship. Certain recommendations were made but were never implemented by the then government.
2. Among the recommendaflons were (4.16): "That consideration be given to the disestablishment of the Ndzundza (Pungutsha) tribal authority and the establishment of the community authority".
3. In 1994, the 'B&C' community took the tribal authority, the 'Chief', the Chief Minister of
KwaNdebele, the Minister of Regional Affairs and the KwaNdebele National Development
Corporation to court.
4. On the 25th January 1996, in the Supreme Court of South Africa, case no.17808/92, before the hon. Mr Justice de KIerk, a court order was issued against the above-named persons.
5. In 1996, the Legal Resources Centre helped the community to establish a Community Trust to administer the land. Trustees were elected and given letters of authority. The Trust Deed and letter of authority empowering and appointing the trustees and the court order were forwarded to the Director General of Mpumalanga Province.
Specific Objections to aspects of the Bill
1. Definitions: The Bill does not provide a clear meaning of the words 'community and 'land administration committee'.
2. Section 21(2) states that if a community has a recognised traditional council, the powers and duties of the land administration committee of such community may be exercised and performed by such council. This is against the principle of transferring control of land to its rightful owners. We cannot administer our land since the Bill intends to give powers and functions to chiefs who do not have rights over our land and do not represent our community.
3. Section 24 (1) states 'To the extent provided by this Act and subject to any other applicable law a land administration committee represents a community owning communal land and has the ownership and administrative powers conferred on it by the rules of such a community". We feel that it is wrong for a land administration committee from another area to try to represent the community that actually owns and occupies the land. This is tantamount to a new apartheid rule.
4. Section 24 (3) (a), (i): 'The allocation by such committee, after a determination by the Minister in terms of section 18, of new order rights to persons including women, children and the youth, in accordance with the law:
(ii) "The registration of communal land of new order rights"
We totally oppose this section of the Bill because this is what we have been fighting against all along.
5. The present Bill should be withdrawn and communities residing on communal land properly consulted in order to come up with a more appropriate law. We support the principle that the administration of communal land should rest with its owners and occupiers.