Mankweng

Mankweng Farmers and The Pursuit of Resources: Funding and Water Rights

Mankweng

In Mankweng, a former apartheid administration enclave within the Lebowa Bantustan (1963- 2001), the complex reality of rapid urbanisation and service delivery within a dual governance system plays out. This facet of South Africa’s layout is integral to understanding how various resources, such as those of the Water-Energy-Land-Food (WELF) Nexus are accessed and controlled, given that about 13 % of the country’s landmass was declared a bantustan or homeland due to the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936. Mankweng is a township, located 25km east of Polokwane city, the capital of the Limpopo Province. The township is home to the University of Limpopo and is surrounded by a number of villages, which are governed by the state and about 6 different traditional authorities.  These governance structures collectively influence the development of the area and work towards the needed provision of water, electricity, tarred roads and many other services, which include supporting small holder farmers.

Mankweng

On the 11th of May 2023, at the Mankweng office of the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a small holder farmers’ meeting was held regarding applications for funding and water rights. Given that the national unemployment rate of 32.9%, and national and Limpopo provincial hunger rates of 26.0% and over 30% respectively, according to a 2013 South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES); it is imperative to understand the role of small holder farmers in food security and systems.  The May farmer’s meeting was my first encounter with a group of over 80 farmers in one location. This turnout reflected the deep need for funding, which was also echoed by the assistant director of the Mankweng district Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr W. Mogano, when asked about the most pertinent issue for small holder farmers.

By Sandra Zaroufis

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