In an effort to address the legacy of the notorious 1913 Native Land Act, government has redistributed 7.950 million hectares and settled 77 334 lodged claims since 1994.
The latest beneficiaries of the land claims process are the Barolong Boo Mariba Traditional Council who received six farms from North West Premier Thandi Modise recently.
The council says it will profitably use the six farms it received as compensation for the land that was taken from them through the notorious 1913 Natives’ Land Act.
The farms, valued at R60 million, were handed over to the community by North West Premier Thandi Modise at Dalyspan Farm near Mabule in Ratlou Local Municipality.
Speaking on behalf of the traditional council, Kgosi Kopano Lekoko said he was thankful to the government for negotiating for the land on their behalf.
“We are thankful to the ANC-led government that the land was being returned without bloodshed. There are many farms in the land that we have claimed. So far, only six farms have been returned.
“We owe it to the government to demonstrate that we will use it profitably to feed our people, the country and the international market. The work on the farm begins as soon as this celebration ends,” said Kgosi Lekoko.
Community member Olebogeng More, 62, said it had been a long wait and the handover showed that patience is a virtue. “We are going to safeguard the land of our forefathers. Our cattle will no longer starve. We are back on course after many years of oppression and land dispossession. Our dignity will be restored.”
Tshenolo Tlhogi, 63, said: “We will now be able to sleep. To us, the land is an important asset but it is also more than just a commodity, it’s about our identity.”
Kobus Odendaal, 77, who bought the Dalyspan farm seven years ago from another farmer, said he and his wife Susan were very happy for the community, although they will always miss the good life they had at the farm. “It was a very good farm, very productive.”
Modise urged the traditional council to use the land fruitfully and preserve it for future generations.
“Never … again must this country experience some of the things that many of us are still reeling from. Hold on to the land we return to you today. Don’t allow people to steal it. We must preserve our land for our children.”
Modise, also toured the farms to inspect facilities. She said her administration is looking at various models to make life easy for farming communities and people in rural areas in general.
She said in addition to availing training opportunities through the Kgora Training Centre, which seeks to equip subsistence and aspirant farmers with farming skills, she planned to lead a delegation to Thailand, where they will investigate, among others, solar opportunities to make it easy for people in far-flung areas to have cheaper electricity.
For more information cal the Department of Land and Rural Development on: 012 312 8911
Did you know?
- Since 1994 government has redistributed 7.950 million hectares (or 30%) of the 2014 target to redistribute 24.5 million hectares of the country’s arable land to the previously disadvantaged.
- Since the inception of the restitution programme in 1995, 79 696 claims had been lodged and 77 334 had been settled
- Of the claims settled 59 758 had been final-
Source: Development Indicators Report, 2013