Three former farmworkers from Calvinia, Northern Cape, are beneficiaries of one of the largest land redistribution deals in the Namakwa District Municipality.
As part of the deal, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in the Northern Cape has bought five farms measuring more than 11 000 hectares at a cost of R10.9 million. The farms were officially handed over to the beneficiaries at a celebration ceremony held on the farm recently.
Once the transfer of the farms was complete, government bought 752 sheep worth more than R1 million for three former farmworkers to help them become successful farmers.
The department also arranged for the neighbouring commercial farmer, Boy Boardman, to help the beneficiaries as their mentor/strategic partner.
He will help them with the overall management of the farm, day-to-day operations on the farm including financial management and the balancing of books. He will also train them and ensure skills transfer so that they can farm on their own in the future.
As part of the deal, the workers’ close corporation, strategic partner and the government formed a tripartite agreement model with the 50-50 profit/risk/loss sharing among the parties.
The beneficiaries will still receive their salaries for a period of five years until the business starts making profit.
Through the tripartite agreement model, new farmers get partnered with experienced farmers to get technical advice and financial management skills to help them become successful farmers.
The Director of Land Reform at the department Kgalalelo Marintlhwane said that the project is a high impact project. “Farm workers are the most vulnerable people,” she said.
Jan Jonker, a worker for six years, called the opportunity a dream come true.
“I’ve always wanted to own a piece of land and I’m happy that I will leave something for my children when I pass on,” he said.
Jonker added that he still had to get used to the idea that he was no longer a farmworker and promised to work hard to make a project a success.
Working on a farm has taught him about sheep breeding as well as general maintenance on the farm.
“I hope that the skills I have acquired from the previous owner will help me in managing the farm,” he said.
*Moeketsi Ntsane works for the Department of Rural Development and Land