Ivan-Cloete farm
Ivan Cloete and WC Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer. Photo: FB/Premier Alan Winde

Following much publicity and outrage, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) is to withdraw its – allegedly unlawful – eviction order against Ivan Cloete; and restore his full farming rights to the Colenso farm in Darling, Western Cape. Cloete will now be allocated Colenso farm, which is the farm that he currently resides in, and will be provided with a 30-year lease agreement on the same terms that are applicable to commercial leases.

Annette Steyn – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development – said the DA welcomes the announcement; and will be calling for disciplinary action to be taken against DALRRD officials who were at the forefront of harassing Cloete with an unlawful eviction order.

In a report, on the investigation conducted by DALRRD into the Cloete matter, submitted to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mandla Mandela, the Department admitted that ‘It is clear that ever since 2012, Mr Cloete was not treated fairly’. In fact, the report goes on to say that:

‘From the investigation, it is clear that the Colenso farm was to be allocated to Mr Cloete but senior officials of the Department decided to allocate it to yet another person’

“This confirms what the DA has always argued, the DALRRD has been hijacked by corrupt officials who took it upon themselves to parcel out land to their preferred recipients while trampling on the rights of defenceless citizens who have no friends in high places,” Steyn said in a media statement on Friday evening.

According to the report, the case demonstrated irregularities and improper conduct which placed Cloete in a difficult position as he was made to move from one place to another. The report recommends that:

‘Consequence management be taken against all senior management and officials who participated in the identified irregularities and mismanagement.’

Steyn said: “The DA will make sure that this recommendation is applied to the fullest extent possible and that no farmer will once again be targeted in such a brazen disregard for the law, as happened with Mr Ivan Cloete.”