Annette Steyn MP – DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform – 4 September 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the landmark verdict by the North Gauteng High Court today, compelling the state to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo, to Mr. David Rakgase. Mr Rakgase, a small-scale elderly farmer, has been farming on Nooitgedacht for almost 30 years and has been leasing the 3 179 hectare farm from the previous and ANC governments since April 1991.
The DA was in Court to support Mr. Rakgase, who, for the past 16 years has been struggling to purchase the farm from government.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), in 2003, accepted his offer to purchase the farm, exactly a year after the Department offered him the option of buying the farm as a beneficiary of the government’s now discontinued Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme. He took the decision to take the state to court after it emerged that Government would not honour his expectation to purchase the land and would instead offer him a lease agreement for another 30 years.
The High Court today overturned the Department’s decision and gave the State 30 days to sell the farm to Mr. Rakgase on the terms and conditions and price which would have applied if the farm had been sold to him under the LRAD programme in 2003.
This ruling sets an important precedent, as countless other black, small-scale farmers can finally challenge the ANC government’s failure in land reform. Mr Rakgase is not the only emerging black farmer that has been dealt a bad hand by government. There are many others who have suffered a similar fate due to the ANC’s fragmented land redistribution position.
The DA calls on these farmers to come forward and contact the DA in order to challenge the ANC government’s deadly grip on land reform.
Being a tenant farmer is not real empowerment, it is in fact, a hallmark of the ANC that will have you believe that they care about land reform, but in reality they care about control.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has unremittingly maintained that his party does not support nationalisation of land, yet, court papers in the Rakgase matter uncovered that the ANC government has actively pushed for state land ownership for years.
The DA believes that land reform is both a moral imperative and represents an opportunity to stimulate rural economies, and truly empower disadvantaged black South Africans. Therefore, the large proportion of the land acquired by the state should be owned and put to productive use by emerging farmers, instead of that being insidiously transferred to the state.
The DA-run Western Cape government has implemented land reform more successfully than anywhere else, Unlike the ANC, where the DA governs, we do not impede land reform. The Western Cape has a 72% success rate on agricultural land reform projects, compared to an estimated national success rate of 10%.
We have established a Land Reform Advisory Desk and District Land Reform Committees to provide the necessary support to emerging farmers. And we are the only provincial government to commission an external evaluation of all land reform farms within the province.
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.