Landmark high court judgment exposes an ANC government that hinders land reform

The North Gauteng High Court has brought to an end a saga that has been going on since 2003.

Elderly David Rakgase has been farming on Nooitgedacht Farm in Limpopo for almost 30 years.

Rakgase signed the 30-year lease to the farm with the previous regime in 1991 and it was taken over by the African National Congress government.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform offered Rakgase a chance to purchase the farm in 2002 under the now-defunct Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme.

He officially made an offer in 2003 and it was initially accepted by the department but it appeared as if the department would renege on the deal and instead offered Rakgase a 30-year extension on the lease.

The high court says the state has 30 days to sell the farm to Rakgase on the terms and conditions as well as the price which would have applied had the farm been sold to him in 2003.

John Maytham speaks to legal journalist Karyn Maughan to unpack the ruling.

I am sincerely hoping that the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development has common sense to not seek to appeal this because, as we have seen in numerous other matters, they have a pathology of really appealing against their own indefensible behaviour.

Karyn Maughan, Legal journalist

As has been been the case with the very scathing ruling delivered by Justice Edwin Cameron in his last ruling for the Constitutional Court about the Labour Tenants Act, really this ruling is yet another profound indictment of government's land reform programme and how it has utterly failed black farmers, the very people that it should be benefiting.

Karyn Maughan, Legal journalist

The pathology in the Labour Tenants Act matter is being replicated in this Rakgase ruling, with judges in this matter describing the cynicism with which the Department of Land Reform at one stage had thought to argue technical defences for why they had chosen not to sell this farm.

Karyn Maughan, Legal journalist

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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Landmark high court judgment exposes an ANC government that hinders land reform


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