Farmer in Limpopo wins case against government

A “landmark” case has been won by a 78-year-old Limpopo farmer who has leased his land from the government for almost two decades, despite an agreement in 2003 that it would be sold to him. The decision could have far-reaching effects for thousands of small scale farmers who have been stymied by the government’s inaction over land.

David Rakgase had been farming on Nooitgedacht in Limpopo for almost 30 years, aleasing the small farm from the previous and ANC governments since April 1991, according to a statement by the Democratic Alliance (DA)  after Rakgase won his case. The DA called it a “landmark” judgment. The government was given 30 days to sell the farm to Rakgase under the original terms agreed to 16 years ago.

The judgment in favour of Rakgase was made in the North Gauteng High Court and is a stinging indictment of the government’s lack of action over land. It has reportedly failed to process 11,000 land claims made by so-called labour tenant farmers.

In 2003, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform accepted Rakgase’s offer to purchase the farm, one year after the department had offered him the option of buying the farm as a beneficiary of the government’s now discontinued Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme, the DA’s statement said. After it became clear the government would not honour the agreement, and rather lease it to him for 30 years, he went to court.

Source: SA (edited for style)

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