Johannesburg - Farms within Ratlou Local Municipality in the North West are to be restored to communities who were dispossessed of land as a result of the 1913 Land Act, premier Thandi Modise's office said on Sunday.
North West agriculture MEC Desbo Mohono welcomed assurances by the land and rural development department at the handover of title deeds for four farms on Saturday, purchased for R12.3 million, spokesman Lesiba Moses Kgwele said in a statement.
“MEC Mohono urged beneficiary communities not to sell restituted land but to use it profitably to address food security and the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.”
Mohono, speaking on behalf of the premier, said: “The recapitalisation and development of the four farms for which we are handing over title deeds today will ensure that the farms are run as sustainable and profitable business enterprises.”
The four farms would benefit 2304 people, with the land claims process for Railway Block, consisting of 20 farms, Dover, Buckreef and Leyland to be finalised before the end this month.
This was part of Croydon 201, of Portion 2 of Croydon 210 JO, Freedom 211 and Uplands 207 JO claimed by the Barolong Boo Makgobi Community Property Association.
Association chairman Lawrence Oageng said the appointment of Pieter Beukes, an experienced farmer, as a strategic business partner and mentor would ensure the association took sound business decisions that would benefit the community.
He said the settlement grant of R3 million received from government had been used to purchase 188 cattle, which included pure bred Bosmara bulls, farming equipment, bush encroachment fencing, water reticulation and basic infrastructure.
Fifteen people so far had been employed on a temporary basis, and two people on a permanent basis since the project started.
“We intend diversifying and expanding into game farming for tourism and chicken farming,” said Oageng.
Nkagisang Lekgotla, 82, and who has seven children and 26 grandchildren, said: “Freedom has been given meaning with the restoration of our land and dignity. It is up to (us to) make sure that government's efforts and investment is not wasted.”
Chief of the Barolong Boo Makgobi Traditional Council, Kgosi Sandy, was confident the four farms would assist in addressing youth unemployment and development in his community.
The 139 farmers who were leasing 197 000 hectares of state-owned farms in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District also stood to benefit from the recapitalisation programme.