OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
employment and income
justice and crime
introducing the area
quotes about compensation
key testimonies featuring compensation
The compensation arrangements for loss of land and property once residents have been resettled, are complicated and appear not to have been clearly explained by LHDA. Many residents wanted to receive "soil for soil" but there is no spare cultivable land in Lesotho. Narrators have been told that they will receive either food or money for 50 years or can have a large lump sum instead. People are obviously concerned about whether they will actually receive payments in the future. In fact, they have already lost out since LHDA told people not to plant any crops that would need harvesting after relocation. The removal date was then postponed several times, but farmers were not compensated for this lost food and income. People also worry that they will not be compensated for their principal cash crop, since growing cannabis is officially illegal. Because of the confusion and general mistrust, a few narrators feel they should receive compensation before they go, in order to ensure that they actually get it.
Narrators also complain that much of the measuring of the land has been done in their absence and in a way that is alien to them: "they were in fact stepping (measuring) in a European way, like this. They were not stepping like a black person; [they were stepping like a European] who makes a long stride" (Lesotho15). More importantly, they say, it is not the measured size of the field that is important but the value of the yield that it gives. Overall, there is a strong feeling that they are not being compensated enough for the loss of their land, which has supported them for several generations and could feed their children in the future. People feel unhappy about receiving money, a finite resource, in exchange for their fields, which are a sustainable resource. Underlying their complaints is a sense that their world is being measured in a modern, quantitative way that undervalues their own more qualitative concepts.
quotes about compensation
"Now that money does not satisfy me. It is true. Well, I will accept it. But as for my children, as for them, I have found out that they have been destroyed, a lot... They have been eaten (cheated)... They will work, but if they are not going to [get] work, there will be problems. They have been destroyed because that compensation is little. The children of my children will be born when the money is already finished. Even these ones of mine, when they grow up, it will already be finished... Some of them will not find [a means of] learning, judging by the amount of money that is paid at the schools here."
Laurent, M/47, Lesotho 8
"The money is very little and within a year there will be nothing of the money. Money can only be saved when there is something to grow."
Lipholo, M/67, Lesotho 1
"But as time went by tension started to build up due to changes in promises. When we asked them about these changes in promises, they told us that initially promises were made by other contractors and now there are new contractors. We were promised a lot of things such as farming centres where we will be trained [in] vocational skills including commercial livestock farming, poultry [farming]... Now all these promises are no longer mentioned."
Thabang, M/57, Lesotho 2