Land reform brings stability to Northern Cape

Land reform has brought stability and generated income in the Northern Cape, according to Obed Mvula, Northern Cape land affairs director.

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Mvula spoke at Agri Northern Cape’s recent congress in Kimberley. “Enough negative things have been said about land reform. The time has come to focus on the future, rather than to keep referring to the legacy of the Natives’ Land Act No. 27 of 1913. We must all embrace the process of agrarian transformation in the country. I would like to thank Northern Cape farmers for their contribution to land reform.”

The Northern Cape is the only province which had transferred more than 1 million hectares of land. Mvula said 1,3 million hectares had been transferred in the redistribution process and 660 000ha for restitution. Of the 2 356 claims lodged in the Northern Cape, 1 845 urban claims and 511 rural claims have already been settled. Only one urban and 136 rural claims were outstanding and Mvula said the majority of these claims were probably invalid.

Johan van Rensburg, manager of Agri Northern Cape, said farmers should realise that there were still uncertainty around land reform. “We do know, however, that people will be able to lodge claims again. This will probably result in chaos as numerous farmers will again have a sword hanging over their heads.”

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It was, however, clear that the valuer-general would determine a property’s value, which could be favourable for farmers in general. “In the past, farmers sold their properties to government at a premium and their neighbours then had to bear the consequences. This will, however, not happen with the new legislation that is in place.”