Deputy President David Mabuza says government is working hard to restore the dignity of all South Africans through the Land Reform Programme.
“As government, we want to restore human dignity. We must be at the forefront of transformation,” the Deputy President said at a land handover ceremony in Seoding, Northern Cape, on Tuesday.
The GaMopedi and Seoding handover forms part of government’s restitution and land reform programme, in line with the Constitution. The beneficiaries include the Dukathole community, which consists of residents who moved to Germiston between 1920 and 1927 to look for job opportunities in the mining sector.
Both the GaMopedi and Seoding communities have received about 9 000 hectares of land, which will be utilised for agricultural production.
At the handover ceremony, Northern Cape Premier Silvia Lucas said government is committed to ensuring that people get back their land.
“We want to restore the dignity of our people by restoring the land back to them. Now that you have your land back, you will be able to contribute to food production,” the Premier said.
Community leader Atho Niemand told SAnews that it has been a long journey to this day.
“Some of the people with whom we started this journey are no longer alive. It would have been nice if they were here to witness this day, but we thank our government for finalising the process.
“We are going to use the land productively,” Niemand said.
The handover comes at a time when the National Assembly is still dealing with a proposed amendment to the Constitution on expropriation without compensation.
The Draft Expropriation Bill was published on 21 December 2018 for public comment.
The restitution programme has provided redress to a large number of victims of land dispossession who lodged claims with the government.
Government is prioritising claims that were lodged no later than 31 December 1998 and are yet to be finalised.
Approximately 80 000 land claims were received before 31 December 1998, of which 78 750 have been settled.
The remaining backlog is primarily the result of competing claims that have been lodged or untraceable claimants.
Government has programmes to empower claimants to use land productively for job creation, food security and attracting young people to farming. Other support is provided through various state programmes such as Letsema, the Recapitalisation and Development Programme, and through funding agency Mafisa.