Johannesburg – The Government of South Africa has transferred ownership of at least 189 hectares of farming land worth more than US$1.85 million to 30 black farmers in the Tafelkop area of Limpopo.
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure transferred the land to the farmers, who have been working the land for more than two decades, free of charge as part of the government’s land reforms.
At a ceremony where the title deeds were handed over this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country’s land reform programme was gaining momentum, with over two million land claimants having benefitted from the transfer of around 2.7 million hectares since 1994.
In 2000, the then Department of Agriculture entered lease agreements with the Tafelkop Farmers Association in terms of the Agricultural Development Programme.
In 2009, the former Limpopo Department of Agriculture (LDA) recommended to the Department of Public Works, as the custodian of the land, that the land be transferred to the farmers who had been in occupation since 1996.
The deeds were registered in 2021 in the names of the farmers, who grow tobacco, cotton and vegetables.
President Ramaphosa said, “You have reminded us indeed that nothing is so full of victory as patience, and that where there is unity, there is always victory. This land is this community’s most valuable asset, and now it is officially yours. You will now be able to use it as security to secure loans to expand, to secure long-term supply contracts and to form partnerships with bigger commercial farmers.”
He noted that land reforms were not just in the interests of redress, justice and social cohesion, but were also an economic development imperative.
“Agriculture and the agriculture value chain can and must transform rural economies. Through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan we are developing the agricultural sector, and making it more inclusive so that it can play an even greater role in driving inclusive growth. Our constitution obliges the state to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within our available resources, to facilitate equitable access to land.
“The release of state-owned land is one of the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. Last year, we announced that 529,000 hectares of state-owned land would be released for agricultural activities,” President Ramaphosa said.