|Policy, Law, Economics and Politics - Deepening Democracy through Access to Information||This privately-owned website is operated and maintained by Creamer Media|
Published: 06 Jul 2007
|SA: Xingwana: Land hand over celebration for Barokologadi ba ga Maotwe (06/07/2007)|
| Date: 06/07/2007
Source: Department of Agriculture
Title: SA: Xingwana: Land hand over celebration for Barokologadi ba ga Maotwe
Speech for the land hand over celebration for the Barokologadi ba ga Maotwe Land Claim: North West province delivered by the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs Ms Lulama Xingwana
6 July 2007
Premier of North West province, Ms Edna Molewa
MEC for Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Mr Mayisela
MEC for Tourism, Mr Darkie Afrika
Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Mr Thozi Gwanya
Land Commissioner for Gauteng and North West, Ms Tumi Seboka
Mayor of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, Councillor Raymond Motsepe
Executive Mayor of Moses Kotane Local Municipality, Peter Molelekeng
Executive Members of the North West Parks Board and Tourism
Executive Members of the House of Traditional Leaders in the province
Members of Organised Agriculture
The previous land owner, land non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and other Organs of Civil Society
Claimants as well as beneficiaries
Members of the various media institutions
Most importantly, Bomastandi, Barokologadi-Ba-Maotoe
Halala Barokologadi Ba Maotwe Halala!
Leboile Lefatshe la Melorane Leboile!
It is only fitting that I begin with an apology on behalf of our democratic government. We are very sorry for all the sins of the apartheid government, these forced removals should not have happened to you! Barokologadi ke rata gore le nkinele matsogo metsing ka ho busetsa moletlo o kwa morago ele ha ke bone go
tshwanela gore ke be le lona mo letsatsing le kang lena. This claim is the first in this province to be settled within the National Framework on how to settle land claims on protected areas.
This framework was endorsed by Cabinet and confirmed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that I signed together with my colleague Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the Minister for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. This memorandum mainly provides for a co-operative national approach to resolution of land claims in protected areas. This agreement further commits departments to ensure that there is a clear definition of roles and facilitates protection of environmental protected areas under land claims.
Furthermore, it ensures participation and beneficiation of claimants and broader communities in and around protected areas. This therefore means that as restitution beneficiaries you will own the land without physically occupying it for settlement or any other use. Whilst you will become registered owners, the land shall continue to be used for conservation in perpetuity. Happily, we have learned that similarly with agricultural land you have elected to continue with the current land use, determined to use it to its full potential.
It is only fitting that as the Minister responsible, I am with you when you get rid of the yoke of the unjust and racial land dispossession. It is exactly 94 years since the promulgation of the Native Land Act (Act No 27 of 1913), in terms of which a large number of black people in South Africa were dispossessed of their rights to land.
It has been a hard and long road but I am proud to announce that the African National Congress (ANC) government is well on course to make good the pain suffered as a result of those inhumane acts of racial oppression. Last month, the Land Commission embarked on a number of land restoration campaigns in commemoration of June land month. There is nothing to celebrate in the Native Land Act of 1913, but the statement we are making during the June land month is that: "Never and never again shall our people be dispossessed of their land as a result of the colour of their skin." Today we are here to say never and never again shall "Barokologadi-ba-Maotoe" be denied the right to their ancestral land.
Nationally we have handed over approximately 1,6 million hectares of land to the total value of more than R5 billion; thus including land acquisition and development grants. All this has benefited approximately 251 862 households. To date in this province alone we have handed over approximately 305 389 hectares of land to the total value of R1 billion (including grants) benefiting approximately 26 656 households.
Let me acknowledge upfront that no amount of compensation can erase the kind of pain caused by forced removals; however, as we strive to become a better people, I can only urge you to embrace the restitution programme as a form of reconciliation. Moreover, I should indicate that never again will our people be ravaged by the draconian laws which ripped them off of their heritage and dignity. It is regrettable that in this era of democracy our people often experience the very same conditions experienced during the apartheid era where they are evicted from the farms because they are now claimants; they are denied employment because they are now claimants; they are denied the right to bury their dead on their ancestral land; they are not allowed to visit their grave sites because they are now claimants.
We condemn this attitude and we encourage all those landowners who still show such tendency to desist from doing it. This is the new South Africa, which belongs to all who leave in it. Your short but painful history confirms that before the fatal events of 1950; which radically changed your quiet and peaceful community, your forefathers and grandmothers were using the land for livestock farming. This has not remained the same as the greater part of the land has changed in use to conservation. Today as we bear testimony to the handing over of this land, I have no doubt that you have been waiting far too long for this day. Your forefathers must be turning with joy in their graves.
As we cherish this day we must embrace the responsibility that comes with it. This means protecting this land, using it productively and above all, using it as an asset of unity rather than of division.
It gives me pleasure to announce that today:
* We are restoring 26 166 hectares of land to this community of Barokologadi ba Maotwe. This land includes the farms: Rooderand 117 kp, Leeuwenhoek 112 kp, Tweedepoort 113 kp, Mooiplaats 94 kp, Genadendal 116 kp, Lotteringskop 115
kp, Doornhoek 134 kp, Wolwehoek 135 kp, Eerstepoort 137 kp and Sebele 931 kp. That is land which is part of the Madikwe Game Reserve as well as some portions outside the Reserve. You have agreed that the land that was proclaimed for conservation will remain a protected area and that will be registered in your title deed.
* The Barokologadi Communal Property Association (CPA) has been registered with the Department of Land Affairs and thus all this land shall be registered in a title deed in the name of the CPA. Most of the farms are State Land and thus have to go through the State Land Disposal Process. I have given instruction to the Commissioner that within the next six months this transfer must be done and the title deed issued. The Department of Public Works is in support of this process.
* Whilst most of the land is under conservation Doornhoek and Wolwehoek are used for agricultural activities; mainly livestock farming. The MEC for Agriculture is here today to confirm his support for agricultural development on these farms. He has several programmes for comprehensive agricultural support to land reform beneficiaries.
* We have started negotiations with Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) for the allocation of water rights to you as claimants from the Molatedi Dam. Water is essential for both agricultural development and eco-tourism. I am aware that there are concessions with Jaci's Lodge; you may want to form a partnership that will improve the lodge facilities even closer to the Molatedi Dam.
* Over and above the land restoration I am glad to announce that each of the verified claimant families will receive R10 000 as financial compensation for the loss of use of the land under conservation. We have verified 884 families who were physically removed from this land and thus the total financial compensation for those families will be R8,84 million. The office of the Commissioner will make arrangements with the verified claimants how this R10 000 will be paid into your bank accounts, through ABSA or the Post-Bank.
* Further, this community will be given development grants amounting to R3,9 million (884 x R4 440 = R3 924 960). These grants will enable you to initiate development projects that must improve your quality of life.
* Further, we are going to make available R2,4 million as development subsidy in terms of section 42C of the restitution Act. This will enable you to specifically engage in agricultural development, working closely with the office of MEC Mayisela.
* Executive Mayor, through this settlement today we are bringing to your local economy a sum total of R 23,9 million in direct investment. We are expecting the multiplier effect which will come as a result of the implementation of your Integrated Development Planning (IDP) for this area, the Provincial Growth Development Plan for this area. We are encouraging you to implement swiftly your Local Economic Development plans for this area. We have adopted an integrated approach to development planning.
For this reason I want to see within the next two weeks that a Project Steering Committee meets to map the way forward on development priorities for this community. The Steering Committee shall be made up of relevant Stakeholders including the Provincial Government led by the office of the MEC, the Municipality, the Parks Board, Land Affairs and the Land Claims Commission. I must say that Madikwe Game Reserve has a potential for growth, especially now that the concept of the Heritage Park has been introduced. In future Madikwe game reserve will become a giant park with Pilansesburg Park.
You must take advantage of this great opportunity presented to you by the provincial government. Negotiations between the Land Claims Commission and the North West Parks and Tourism Board as well as other stakeholders are continuing to conclude a settlement and co-management agreement in terms of which your partnership in the park will be determined. I must further emphasise that Moses Kotane Local Municipality, in furtherance of co-operative governance, have made a commitment that through consultative responsibility they will make sure that Barokologadi beneficiaries do participate in tourism structures.
Ladies and gentlemen it is also important to note that Barokologadi will own properties attached to the Molatedi Dam, an internationally acclaimed dam around which there is treaty between the Republic of South Africa and Botswana government. In this regard, the Commission is also engaged in discussions with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to identify the potential benefits and the use of the Buffer areas of the dam for potential safer projects. Through the assistance of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Bojanala District cattle farmers have been identified for support in both Wolwehoek and Doornhoek farms.
I have read in the newspapers that we must move away from the historical type of land restitution to that of needs based land. I must say that such suggestions are tempting, but however such approaches are devoid of our people shared legacy and as a result they have no place in the restitution programme. We are in no position to betray the history and legacy of our people. The democratic government of South Africa respects the rights of its citizens which are enshrined in the Constitution of the land. The Constitution provides for the restitution of property or equitable redress to victims of racially motivated land dispossessions. Ours is restitution under the rule of law, the orderly way, the South African way.
Last month, the highest court in the land, the Constitutional court ruled that the Popela community in the Limpopo province is entitled to restitution for their tenancy rights which they lost under the apartheid government. The Constitutional Court ruling is a clear message to those land owners who are playing hide and seek with government by disputing the validity of labour tenancy claims. We are saying to those land owners today: The game is over!
Come forward, let us finalise these claims and move forward. There are other burning issues that the department needs to focus its energy on instead of chasing after land owners who are bent on working against the land reform process. I have said it before and I am saying it again today: We are sick and tired of those who are playing hide and seek. We are only negotiating for six months and then we will expropriate, finish and klaar. The people have long been waiting to return to the land. We cannot negotiate forever. Ha e duma ya tsamaya, koloi ya lefatshe.
As I conclude, I wish you the blessings of God on all your endeavours on your restored land. I wish to congratulate your spirit of comradeship, tolerance and unity that you demonstrated in the run up to this event. We, as government remain committed in achieving our mission of restoring land, human dignity and respect to historically disadvantaged South Africans, whose ancestral land was brutally dispossessed as a result of the racial unjust laws.
Halala Barokologadi Ba Maotwe Halala!
Leboile Lefatshe la Melorane Leboile!