Gauteng and North West land claims commissioner Tumi Seboka has warned that in all cases where negotiations on land claims cannot be concluded as a result of “intransigence and deliberate frustration by the landowners”, she will advise government to expropriate.
Referring to the farm Leeuwspruit in West, which she called an “infamous case of expropriation”, said it was a great achievement that a settlement had now been reached on that farm and the sale agreement finalised. “We are currently developing a business plan. The claimants have opted not to settle on the farms but to use it for production of cattle and crops as it was previously used,” she said. With regard to Krokodilspruit in Gauteng, Seboka stated that a memo for an expropriation order was on its way to the minister.
Following a notice earlier to the owner of intention to expropriate, he had made representations to the Land Claims Commission within the required time of 21 days. A ccording to Seboka, the commission had recommended to the minister that the farmer concerned be given a hearing. “We have already given an opportunity to the landowner in terms of the Public Administrative Justice Act to present to the minister the reason why the farm should not be expropriated. However, the status has not changed.”
As far as Hartebeespoort farms were concerned, she said it seemed negotiations were heading towards a deadlock and expropriation might be the only solution. The commission has only 19 cases still to settle in Gauteng and 80 cases in North West, all concerning agricultural land. There are, however, difficulties in settling the remaining cases. “trend has developed in which landowners introduce a new clause every time the matter comes close to a conclusion. It means that cases have to be investigated from scratch and this unnecessarily delays restitution,” said Seboka. S he admitted that staff retention presented major obstacles, but said she was addressing the problem. – Lynette van Hoven