As government continues with the SA land reform project, the cries of Limpopo community members look like it’s coming to an end as those whose lands were taken from them would this week, be receiving R35.3m as compensation for damages they suffered during forced evictions.
The office of the regional land claims commissioner confirmed this on Wednesday, saying 118 Mamaila Bolobedu families displaced from their lands of birth will each receive an amount of R299 093.68.
The compensation, according to the provincial spokesperson Avhashoni Magada, comes as a result of the commission having finalised the land claim lodged by Kgosigadi on behalf of the community authorised through a resolution that was signed by the tribe.
Following a research conducted by the office of the regional land claims commissioner, the Mamaila Bolebedu were asked to move from the claimed properties in 1968 after the apartheid government enacted the Black Resettlement Act of 1954.
The claimed properties are farms Verschfontein 233LT (R/E and Portion 1), Elandsfontein 235 LT and Sterkfontein 203 LT in Greater Letaba Local Municipality in Limpopo Province.
Magada further noted that the commission conducted a workshop at Mamaila Bolobedu Tribal Hall with members of the Limpopo community where they were officially notified about the payment. but in reply, the claimants indicated that they need alternative compensation because “the claimed properties are not feasible to restore.
When the lands were still in their possession, the Mamaila Bolobedu had bigger portions of land and sufficient space to farm. They were known for farming mangoes, maize, cattle and goats. During the removal, they left mango trees, graves and houses,” said Magada.
“They started building new houses at the place they were given,” added Magada who equally noted that the new land allocated to them was so small that it was difficult for them to continue farming as they did previously.
The regional land claims commission’s decision to compensate the Limpopo community for the land taken from them comes at the time issues are being raised on best approach to adopt in giving back lands belonging to black south Africans.
The EFF commander-in-chief, Julius Malema has on several occasions asked party supporters and other South Africans to seize any piece of white-owned land they wanted, defying a court trying him on charges of inciting violent property grabs.
“When we leave here and you see any beautiful piece of land and you like it, occupy it, it belongs to you … It is the land that was taken from us by white people by force through genocide,” he said during one of his meeting with party supporters.
Malema’s comments has on many cases, landed him in court as he is often times charged for inciting his supporters to take over land by force.
Meanwhile, Zuma, in his State of the Nation address on Thursday night, promised a renewed commitment to land reform which according to him, would drive radical economic transformation.
The president’s radical economic transformation meant fundamental change in the structure and system of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of, particularly, poor South Africans.
This decision by government has been highly commended with Rural Development and Land Reform minister Gugile Nkwinti coming to encourage government to speed up the move as it would be best for the economy.
“Now, more than 22 years down the line, “the urgency of the land question has increased in tempo, which makes sense,” he said, pointing out that if the country fail to speed up land transformation “we put reconciliation and South Africa at risk”.
Nevertheless, a non-profit land-redistribution organisation Vumelana has revealed the four options President Zuma and the ANC are most likely to adopt in redistributing land to black South Africans by 2033.
The Scenerios include:
- Connection and Capture: Follows SA land reform being captured by politically-connected interest groups who benefit at the expense of ordinary people.
- Market power and Concentration where SA land reform changes the racial profile of concentrated commercial farming without broadening ownership to small farmers and local communities.
- Occupation and Confiscation: Where deepening hardship and hunger drive a countrywide campaign of illegal occupation and invasion, eventually lead to confiscation without compensation.
- Hard bargaining and Compromise: Which entails an inclusive approach to SA land reform with a pro-poor orientation.