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Rustenburg - The Democratic Alliance will oppose attempts to appeal the verdict compelling the state to sell land to a Limpopo farmer, the party said.

"The Democratic Alliance [DA] has taken note of reports that the Department of Rural Development and Land reform is gearing up to appeal the judgment by the North Gauteng High Court, compelling the state to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo, to Mr David Rakgase," Annette Steyn, DA shadow minister on rural development and land reform said in a statement.

"Mr Rakgase has been leasing this farm for nearly three decades and has been struggling to purchase the farm from government for the past 16 years. Back in 2002, Mr Rakgase was offered the option of buying the farm as a beneficiary of the now discontinued Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme.

"Mr Rakgsase took the department to court after it emerged that it would not honour his expectation to purchase the land. The North Gauteng High Court found that the state breached its constitutional duties in its handling of Rakgase’s attempts to buy the farm it had offered him."

Mamphopha David Rakgase, 78, won a landmark court battle on September 4 when the High Court in Pretoria set aside the decision of the deputy director general of the department not to approve the sale of the farm and ordered that government should within 30 days to sell the farm to Rakgase on the terms, conditions and price which would have applied if the farm had been sold to him under the land redistribution for agricultural development programme in 2003.

In 2003, the department of rural development and land reform accepted his offer to purchase the farm, this was 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 programme.

Rakgase and his son Mmofa Amon Rakgase approached the court after it emerged that government would not sell the land and would instead offer him a lease agreement for another 30 years.

Rakgase had been farming at the Nooitgedacht farm about eight kilometres from Northam during the Bophuthatswana era and the land was transfered to Limpopo provincial government after the 1994 democratic election.

Steyn said the party believed that land reform was a moral imperative and must be seen as an opportunity to truly empower disadvantaged black South Africans and to stimulate rural economies.

African News Agency (ANA)