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Land claim: senior official to meet Newcastle protesters
21 Jul 2011
Thamsanqa Magubane

THE sit-in protest by the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) at the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development offices in Newcastle has paid off.
Mduduzi Shabane, the director-general of the department, has agreed to meet the community members to address their concerns.
On Monday rural farming community members under the banner of the LPM from the Amajuba district staged a sit-in at the offices demanding a meeting with Shabane and senior officials of the KwaZulu-Natal government.
Jabulani Hadebe, a community leader, said yesterday the director-general has given an undertaking that he will meet the community in the department’s offices in Newcastle today.
“After we had staged a sit-in on Monday we were arrested by the police for an illegal gathering and we spent a night in jail. When we were released on Tuesday we went back to the office and staged another sit-in and brough operations to a halt.”
He said that although the staff at the office called the police again, Shabane agreed to meet them.
“We have been informed that the director will be coming here to address our concerns.”
Hadebe said they are tired of the provincial office staff who only take complaints but never act on them.
The protesters said the office has failed to finalise their land claim, to allow for transfer of claimed land to numerous new owners and to protect the farm dwellers from eviction.
Sipho Dlamini, the department’s provincial spokesperson, said yesterday that in their meeting with LPM members they had reached agreement on some of the issues that have been raised.
“We can also confirm that there is a delegation that will be meeting with the community members and we also believe that the director-general will be part of that delegation.”

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