LIMPOPO – The mineral rich-mining region of Sekhukhune has over the years seen many politicians, businessmen and women and mining magnates such as Patrice Motsepe, President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Mpumalanga Premier, Mathews Phosa, jostling for mining rights at the Department of Mineral Resources to prospect minerals.
Sekhukhune, which has one of the fasted growing economies in the country, has 66 minerals including chrome, platinum, asbestos and diamond.
“This land where these mines are sitting is the land of our forefathers. It belongs to us. We must make sure we fight together to win back our land,” said Sekhukhune to the delight of the residents who responded with thunderous applause from the filled to capacity Mohlaletsi Sportsground over the weekend.
Sekhukhune said the fertile land was forcefully taken away from the Ba-Pedi clan by the British in 1879.
“This included private owned farms, crown land, land company farms and mission land. Between 1922 and 1953, however, over 32 farms in areas referred to as Nebo and Sekhukhune today were bought back by its rightful owners. Our forefathers had to sell their cattle, goats and sorghum in an endeavour to buy back the land but the land bought back was a drop in the ocean compared to what was left in the hands of the Boer,” he said.
“This is not a war. All we are asking for is for government to bring back what is rightfully ours and was forcefully taken away from us by the then oppressive government,” explained Sekhukhune.
To the delight of the crowd, Sekhukhune said: “We are not apologetic about this. I think it is time for our land to be brought back to its people so that poverty can quickly become a thing of the past for us and for generations to come”.
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Sekhukhune owns 30 agricultural farms harbouring over 30 mines in the Sekhukhune land.
He further urged his subjects to support the expropriation of land without compensation, saying land was the only epitome and paragon of the South African economy and without it there would be no life.
The Secretary from the office of King Sekhukhune, Samson Phakwago, said they wanted to know why the mines in Sekhukhune did nothing to uplift surrounding communities in the form of water, clinics, roads and recreational facilities among others in spite of the community offering the mines the land to operate on.
“That is why we refuse to remain poverty-stricken while outside people harvest wealth in the land of our ancestors.
“We support the king and his aim to have our land expropriated without delay,” Phakwago said.