On Wednesday the 21st of June farm dwellers of the Masizame Community Property Association blocked the road from Alexandria to Salem in protest. Again, on the 26th, members at the Salem Community blocked the R343 from Kenton-on-Sea to Grahamstown. It was established that both these communities were without any water for themselves or their livestock. Both these communities are currently supplied by water tanker by the Makana Municipality from Grahamstown.
Organised Agriculture has repeatedly warned Government that the ongoing practice of establishing these so called Agri Villages in the rural areas away from Municipal services, and in many instances on agricultural properties with marginal potential is unsustainable. The Makana Municipality, which is on the brink of financial collapse, cannot maintain its fleet of water tankers, and currently only has one tanker serviceable to service the entire Municipal Area, including outlying villages and these Community farms.
While we can debate the failures of Government and their ill-conceived ideas and policies, it is again the most vulnerable that bear the consequences. Agri Villages without proper services, one hectare, one household and one household two cows are just some of the policies of the DRDLR that are doomed to failure.
It was extremely gratifying to see that commercial farmers, in spite of warning against the sustainability of these developments came to the assistance of these communities and provided them with at least drinking water. Access to safe drinking water is a basic right, and while organised agriculture does not condone the blocking of roads in protest, we do have sympathy with the plight of these communities.
Our commercial farmers in the area, are under extreme water stress themselves, and cannot assist these communities indefinitely and as such, we hope that their water issues are resolved quickly.