Ncera residents go nuts destroying R100m project

Angry Eastern Cape residents have destroyed parts of a macadamia nut project into which government has poured more than R100-million.

RAMPAGE: Ncera residents destroyed parts of their macadamia plantation in Ncera as they demand to know how the money moves in and out Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA
RAMPAGE: Ncera residents destroyed parts of their macadamia plantation in Ncera as they demand to know how the money moves in and out Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

Ncera residents, near Kidd’s Beach just outside East London, armed with axes and bush cutters, allegedly cut through the Ncera Macadamia Farm’s (NMF) tall fences and ripped open water connections before setting alight farm sheds.

Tons of fertilisers, seeds and compost were also destroyed at the farm’s nursery as people, mostly youth, ravaged through the farm.

Led by residents from Gwaba village, the protesters said the main reason for their actions was that they were in the dark as to what happens to funds that were constantly ploughed into the project by government.

A resident of Maxhentsa village, Melikaya Dyanopu, who attended a meeting held later in Gwaba village, said another problem was that those who were making the financial decisions for the business were not major shareholders.

“We have people who are not majority shareholders but they have a lion’s share of [running] this project.

“There have been sales of plants and macadamia nuts since 2013 but no one knows how much we have made.

“We need those answers, yet when we call government to come and address this, they don’t come,” Dyanopu said.

Early yesterday morning, at a meeting chaired by Ncera central committee leader Thando Jikwa held at Gwaba community hall, issues about the NMF farm were discussed.

Government officials were expected to attend, but many said they were unavailable.

Jikwa told the meeting, attended by about 200 residents, that the macadamia project was owned by nine villages in Ncera area but only a few people were benefiting.

“We are not benefiting from this project although it is ours. All villages wanted to have the plantation in their fields but because of water we decided that it be at Village 1, but why are other villages now sidelined? We need equal beneficiation,” Jikwa said.

Thobile Vika, chairman of the community trust that looks after villagers’ interests in the nut farm, Vulindlela Investment Trust (VIT), blamed Joe Jongolo and Mkululi Pakade, consultants and shareholders in the project, for the villagers’ problems.

“When I asked them about the money [side] of this project, that’s where the problem started. We are not puppets here, we are representing these villagers, we want honesty and truth about monies that have been funded for this project,” he said.

Attempts to get a comment from Pakade yesterday drew a blank as his phone rang unanswered.

Jongolo, however, said it was regrettable that the villagers would destroy their own project because of community dynamics. He said the community had asked for Vika to be removed from the VIT.

“We don’t have an issue with Vika but the community called for him to be removed.”

Jongolo said documents and finances were available.

MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said dialogues and “cool heads” were needed.

“We’ve received a letter from VIT and are facilitating so we can get a sense of what the problem is.” — bonganif@dispatch.co.za

10 COMMENTS

  1. Yoooo that not gud at all,,,, it’s only one village that have more benefits than other villeges. But that’s was not a good idea to destroy what is already planted. That project comes to nine villeges that’s true but now it’s for one villege Y,, let’s site down guy an talk
    Im.the one who start that macadamia project now after all this good work comes out of our hands we destroy it no common guys, ,, let’s show SA we can invite more investors to bring work to our unemployed brothers plz let’s stop this, let us come together to solve this issue and push this project forward it’s our project, ,its our product,, it’s our future let’s build this country, , we a the victory we a the beneficial of that project masibambaneni siye phambili no turning back, ,, let’s don’t destroy the future of our community that is gone bring work for us let’s push the development in our villages

  2. Thobile Vika, chairman of the community trust that looks after villagers’ interests in the nut farm, Vulindlela Investment Trust (VIT), blamed Joe Jongolo and Mkululi Pakade, consultants and shareholders in the project, for the villagers’ problems.

    “When I asked them about the money [side] of this project, that’s where the problem started. We are not puppets here, we are representing these villagers, we want honesty and truth about monies that have been funded for this project,” he said.

    SO, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE TRUST HAS NO CLUE AS TO WHERE THE MONEY WENT. SAYS A LOT.

  3. I don’t know what to say. This kind of unjustified nonsense is happening all the time but hey, South Africans have nothing and it’s all the white man’s fault. We have EFF and ANC members almost daily blaming Whites, Apartheid or Europeans in general for the poor living conditions but then go out and simply destroy. I just don’t get it. There is simply no logic here.

  4. What is wrong with people, when they can’t sit and discuss things properly?
    Why must they always be so destructive, especially when said farms are
    their livelihoods? You will never go forward by being destructive.

  5. What a mess, destroyed what promised to be benchmark to other provinces. Now farms are destroyed and “whoop” unemployment on the rise again and “blame the government “kind of attitude, don’t these people believe in justice? where were their leaders, how do they give a go-ahead on this. On the side of this Pakade guy this was long coming ask Amajingqi community when it comes to Macadamia and this guy. But axes were set aside in this side of the province and justice prevailed. At the end of the day we want investors to flock in numbers in this province

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