Report back 2016/007 – Greyton Commonage Sell-off

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.

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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.

Should you want to be placed on the Ward 2 Forum Database please email us at the following address mygreyton@ward2forum.org or simply fill out the form to the right of this.

Ward 2 Forum Team

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8 thoughts on “Report back 2016/007 – Greyton Commonage Sell-off”

  1. Another consideration is that of crop spraying (of pesticides) and consequent pollution of adjacent residential property, nature reserve and waterways. This, logically, would result in an inviable EIA.

    1. Well Rob,

      I can assure you that we as riparian farmers are very considerate when it comes to spraying next to ecological sensitive zones like our river, due to the simple fact that we and our animals drink the water. We cannot pack up and move once we have stuffed up the water quality or find a new source somewhere. Unlike the municipality and Helderstroom Correctional facility, who dump raw sewage into the river due to poor quality assurance protocols and petty politics,
      we have to police ourselves with independant water analisys every year to pass the stringent audits by Globalgap and Tesco Natures choice, if we fail these audits, we cannot export our fruit.
      Forgive me for spelling and grammar errors.

      Guy Emslie

  2. I, as a representative of the RNL Trust own a fair amount of properties in Greyton. The trust has been investing in Greyton residential and commercial property since 2008. From the very beginning I was led to believe that Greyton is surrounded by commonage or common land. This is something found a lot under English law and means that the particular ground “belongs” to the residence of the village and therefore to the residence of Greyton. It stands to reason that; for none of this common ground ownership can be claimed by any outsider: not the government or any other body that wishes to own it, as it belongs to the owner’s of Greyton.

    This is also the reason why property in Greyton itself will always be prime land as it is “protected” by common land around its perimeter. This is the primary driver of the value of property in Greyton.
    Should the land be sold, it should at the very least be done with a majority vote of all land owners inside of Greyton.

    TWKM cannot prove that the ground in question belongs to them. This would mean that they have bought it in the past after a referendum by the people. As far as I know nothing of the sort happened.
    I am sorry, but I cannot approve of what I would see as an unlawful selling of land.

  3. It is a good thing to question all aspects of this developement, this could be an eye opener for lots of Greytonians who thinks farmers drive around in Toyotas and make money off the land with very little consideration for man or environment.

    Please just make some effort and find out all you can regarding the Company and farmers involved and what the ultimate goal with such a project would be.

    To my mind it is short sighted to ask what such a project would mean for local inhabitants. The people to be empowered permanently would be local farm workers as well as others who would have seasonal work, they otherwise would not have. The project is a private initiative in response to the poor record that we all have seen with government agricultural empowerment projects, which is a dismal failure.

    My personal experience of some Greytonians are that they have claimed Greyton as their own little enclave and are opposed to anything that doesnt fit into their perception of reality. Look at the Country as a whole and where we stand when it comes to job creation, also consider the positive spin offs when people have enough to eat.
    It is unavoidable to employ outside labour, due to the simple fact that there are not enough local seasonal workers. These outside workers are also South Africans who need work to survive.
    Stop thinking about yourself only while you have a car to drive, a roof over your head and food in the pantry. Think about your future in a South Africa with more unemployment and the bad things that go hand in hand with hungry people.

    A hungry man has nothing to loose!
    Empowering someone is surely no handout, for with it comes years of mentorship, financial support, time and effort.

    Question your motives…..are they as altruistic as you think they are!

  4. This is something very close to home for me. I grew up in Greyton with my friends having spent the majority of our time on this commonage. Building club houses and having our childish battles, riding bicycles, riding our horses. Almost all of our activities took place on this commonage and now at the age of 28 still does. It gives us all a place to play. Unless nature conservation will allow us to start riding our horses and driving our 4×4’s in the mountains they should not sell this piece of 595.
    I believe I speak for most inhabitants and visitors when I say this open, accessible and everyone’s land is the reason they come to Greyton. Mountain Biking, Horse Riding etc.

  5. If they can provide proper sewage disposal for the hundreds of workers quoted, perhaps they could sort ours out for us?

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