DA overjoyed at victory in 18-year-long land ownership battle

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The Democratic Alliance is overjoyed by the news that Limpopo farmer, Mr David Rakgase, will finally receive title to his farm after an 18-year-long court battle with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Mr Rakgase approached the DA to ask for our assistance in his fight to win ownership of his land as promised in 2002. Together, we won his case in September 2019 in the North Gauteng High Court after a drawn out battle spanning over two years.

Mr Rakgase’s victory sets a vital precedent in the fight against the ANC’s policy of Land Expropriation Without Compensation, as it demonstrates government’s reluctance to truly empower, and provide redress to, the citizens of South Africa by affording them the constitutional right to land and property ownership.

I urge National Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to start identifying farmers on state land and providing them with the option to purchase it from the state. This will free many farmers from the stranglehold of state control which does not provide any freedom or opportunity to millions of citizens.

South Africans do not want to become tenants of the state on the land which they work and have lived on for decades. This case sets out clearly the threat ANC policy poses to land ownership in our country. The DA will continue to fight for the right to property ownership even if it takes us straight to the courts.

In 1991, Mr Rakgase signed a 30-year lease agreement under the now discontinued Land Redistribution and Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme.

In 2002, he was offered an option to buy the farm for R621 000, which he accepted, subsequently signing all the necessary documentation to this effect. The ANC government later changed this proposition to an offer to lease only, removing any chance of Mr Rakgase obtaining full ownership of the land on which he has farmed for nearly 30 years.

Now that Mr Rakgase has received title to his land, it opens up the option to many other farmers who have been living and working on their land for years but have been unable to obtain ownership of it from the government.

Land reform will only be successful if all South Africans are afforded the constitutional right to land and property ownership. South Africans cannot remain tenants of the State. The DA will continue to ensure that access to land ownership is expedited to ensure adequate and just redress, and economic freedom for all South Africans.