GREYTON COMMONAGE SELL-OFF [Report 1 of 7]
The decision to sell off a large part of the Greyton Commonage is highly contentious. Whether you support the “proposals” or object to them, or can offer constructive alternatives, we humbly request you to submit written comment by the deadline of 31 March 2016. We will undoubtedly all be affected by the outcome of this venture.
The following salient aspects should be considered:
- The capital investment of R 80 m is significant, but how much will be spent locally?
- Experience of similar fruit farms in the Overberg, in particular this valley, indicates that the business should be viable and sustainable;
- The proposed number of 100-180 permanent workers for this farm is questionable;
- 850 workers in Two-a-day (Pty), including those in this project, may receive share dividends based on 1/3 part of the future business value of about R 150m, after 12 years or so;
- The basis for valuation of the dividends, and their security, has not been revealed yet;
- There is no intent to use local (Ward 2) labour exclusively;
- The amount of housing for seasonal and permanent workers has not been quantified;
- The 235 ha part of the Commonage, now of low conservation value, will be fully and irreversibly transformed by farming;
- We will lose the potentially valuable river corridor between areas 5 and 6 on the map;
- Current land uses and activities, including grazing of animals, on the Commonage will cease permanently;
- The ‘arranged’ valuation of R 4.3m for the land is far too low. We cannot even guess what the value could be after a period of 10-20 years;
- TWKM have issued a By-law confirming that the Commonage ‘belongs’ to them, for them to use as they think fit, despite Herbert Vigne’s Will and Government policy on Commonages;
- All the Spatial Developments (SDF’s) since 2000 propose some form of small-scale farming for local needy people;
- Intensive farming of the Commonage has never been proposed;
- Whatever the merits of this project, or any other similar venture, we ask if TWKM should be allowed to sell off the Commonage, or part of it, without substantial agreement from the community?
- Leases for a maximum of 10 years would be possible (renewable); to be a viable business, at least 30 years is needed;
- The project has a number of hurdles to negotiate, some of which involve public participation – environment assessment (EIA), business plan, site development plan, approval by Departments of Agriculture, Water Affairs, Land Affairs.
We will keep you informed.
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Ward 2 Forum Team