OPINION

ANC govt plays legal games with David Rakgase's land claim – Annette Steyn

DA MP says it is no wonder ConCourt earlier this year lambasted ANC govt's inability to properly implement land reform programme

Land Reform Minister and ANC Government play legal games with Limpopo land claim – DA to seek answers

4 October 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, following claims from her Department that Government will not appeal a verdict which compels them to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo, to Mr. David Rakgase.

However, the DA has information which states that the Department sought leave to appeal the North Gauteng High Court’s landmark ruling.

The DA is seeking clarity on this matter. Should the State have any plans to withdraw its appeal against this judgement, it should do so officially and not play with the emotions of Mr Rakgase who has been longing to own the land he has successfully worked and made productive for almost 30 years.

The ANC government merely pretends to care about the empowerment of black emerging farmers, whereas in reality they are dishonest politicians who exploit the real frustrations and hardships of people to gain votes, amass power and wealth.

President Ramaphosa said earlier this year that his government will embark on an “agricultural revolution” that will empower the South African people to work the land effectively. Yet, many emerging farmers like Mr Rakgase are being fought with every available resource in the ANC government’s arsenal from working the land that is already in their possession.

It is no wonder that the Constitutional Court earlier this year lambasted the ANC government’s inability to properly implement its land reform programme.

Their incoherent and inconsistent stance on the land issue is the reason we are still sitting with the unsettled question on land reform 25 years into our New Democratic dispensation.

The DA will continue to speak out against decisions by this dispassionate government, which impedes emerging black farmers’ rights to ownership of land.

There a thousands of black farmers like Mr. Rakgase, who have spent decades being refused the right to purchase state land they have lived and worked on, and have instead been subjected to government control as lifelong tenant farmers.

If the Department will not appeal Mr. Rakgase’s precedent-setting court victory, then they must begin the process of selling the farm to him on the terms and conditions as well as the price which would have applied had the farm been sold to him in 2003, in accordance to the high court ruling.

The DA believes that land reform is a moral imperative and must be seen as an opportunity to truly empower disadvantaged black South Africans and to stimulate rural economies. It is not some tool a political party should use to get votes, but should be geared towards fighting for the rights of those previously left behind and truly empower them to be all they can be.

While the ANC government continues to lose its way when it comes to land reform, the DA-run Western Cape has achieved a 72% success rate in agricultural land reform projects, compared to an estimated national success rate of 10%.

The ANC government has chipped away at the the opportunity for emerging black farmers to build generational wealth and opportunities for their families. The only thing farmers like Mr. Rakgase wants, is the right to own what they have spent their lives working on, so that they can leave a proud legacy for future generations.

Issued by Annette Steyn, DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development, 4 October 2019