OPINION

Govt to appeal verdict compelling State to sell land to farmer – Annette Steyn

DA MP says this proves the ANC does not support black South Africans’ right to ownership of land

DA opposes ANC Government’s attempts to appeal verdict compelling State to sell land to Limpopo farmer

30 September 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of reports that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) is gearing up to appeal the judgement by the North Gauteng High Court, compelling the state to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo, to Mr. David Rakgase.

Mr. Rakgase has been leasing this farm for nearly 3 decades and has been struggling to purchase the farm from government for the past 16 years. Back in 2002, Mr. Rakgase was offered the option of buying the farm as a beneficiary of the now discontinued Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme.

Mr. Rakgsase took the department to court after it emerged that it would not honour his expectation to purchase the land. The North Gauteng High Court found that the state breached its constitutional duties in its handling of Rakgase’s attempts to buy the farm it had offered him.

The DA strongly opposes this decision by the Government as it proves that the ANC does not support black South Africans’ right to ownership of land but sees nationalisation as tool for land reform.

Just recently, the Constitutional Court lambasted the ANC government’s inability to properly implement its land reform programme. The Court confirmed the Eastern Cape High Court decision to declare Sections of the Land Affairs General Amendment Act and the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act invalid. This is due to the fact that Section 3 of the Tenure Act, which enables legal occupants of a property to seek conversion of their tenure rights into ownership, had for the past two decades not been extended to the former apartheid homelands. This is because the Land Affairs Amendment Act extended the application of the Tenure Act to the whole republic, with the exception of Section 3.

This highlights Government’s incongruent land policy, a government that acts like they care about land reform, but in reality, they care about keeping emerging black farmers in their control as lifelong tenant farmers. That is not real empowerment.

While land reform should be used to reverse the cruel Land Act of 1913, the ANC government is keeping it very much alive by refusing black farmers ownership of land. The ANC government is waging a war of attrition against emerging black farmers, hoping they will give up on their fight.

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.

In the Western Cape, the DA is supporting land reform farmers in order to be more successful than anywhere else in the country. For this reason the Western Cape has a 72% success rate in agricultural land reform projects, compared to an estimated national success rate of 10%.

While the ANC government continues to lose its way when it comes to land reform, the DA will continue to fight for the rights of those previously left behind and truly empower them to be all they can be.

We call on more farmers to contact the DA to help them become land-owners.

Issued by Annette Steyn, DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, 30 September 2019