Infighting at CPAs – a major headache for government

Of the 1 424 Communal Property Associations (CPAs) registered in the country, only 284 were complying with the government’s standards, according to the latest annual CPA report.

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Jeff Sebape, acting chief director of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, who presented the report in parliament recently, defined compliance as CPAs that updated their membership lists, had a valid constitution, held regular AGMs, held elections and submitted annual reports.

He identified conflict between members of the CPAs as one of the biggest challenges faced by the associations.

“This conflict usually centred on governance issues, accountability, financial mismanagement and lack of adherence to the CPA’s constitution,” he said.

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Phumuzile Ngwenya-Mabila, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, told Farmer’s Weekly that strife between CPA members not only prevented these communities from accessing the full benefits of these projects, but was a major headache for government as many disputes ended up in court.

However, she said that progress, albeit slow, was being made.

“Since last year, the number of CPAs that complied with government’s standards increased from 171 to 284. Five years ago
there were only 100 CPAs that complied,” she said.

Ngwenya-Mabila ascribed this to government’s regularisation process, whereby the Land Rights Management Facility intervened through mediation or by assisting CPAs to become compliant.