Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The willing buyer, willing seller land redistribution practice is allegedly central to a stand-off that resulted in the impounding of livestock belonging to black subsistence farmers in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.

In papers filed in the Constitutional Court, Normandien Farms has been accused of inflating by more than R390million the price of land it was due to sell to the labour tenants.

Bonginkosi Mathimbane, one of 12 tenants embroiled in a legal battle with Normandien, argued that the company had resorted to “obstructionist tactics” to block them from gaining ownership of a portion of Albany Estates.

Soon after winning an order declaring them labour tenants in 2014, the 12 elected to gain ownership of the land which they have occupied for many years.

Willing to buy the land for the subsistence farmers, the government appointed Spectrum Valuation Services to conduct a valuation on the land.

Spectrum concluded that R8.53m was a fair and equitable price for the land.

Mathimbane said their stand-off with Normandien deepened after the group “outrightly rejected” the compensation offer.

The parties have battled it out at the Land Claims Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal since the pricing deadlock.

A 2015 ruling by Land Claim Court Judge Yasmin Shenaz Meer ordered removal of the residents’ livestock from Albany.

“Out of the blue” in March 2016, Normandien removed the livestock, numbering nearly 400 cattle, 133 goats and 10 horses.

Judge Owen Rogers affirmed Meer’s order last year.

Mathimbane and his 11 co-applicants now wanted the Constitutional Court to rule that Meer and Rogers failed to take into account that they won their land claim and therefore “fundamentally erred and misdirected” themselves.

@BonganiNkosi87