With few months to a decisive national and provincial elections in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised farm workers in Ebenhaeser, Western Cape, that government has committed to accelerating the process of land reform.
Ramaphosa was in the West Coast District Municipality town on Saturday to hand over title deeds for the 3 990 hectares of 178 Vanrhynsdorp Beeswater commercial farmland to descendants of the Griqua community who have established themselves on the farm since 1926.
Ramaphosa also said that land reform was imperative for social justice and the greater drive to grow South Africa’s economy and the creation of jobs.
The president stated that each time government witnesses the joy of communities who can return to their ancestors land, they become optimistic about the country’s future.
Accompanied by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Ramaphosa said the handover was a “triumph of cooperative governance, because the settlement of these claims would not have been possible without the close collaboration of local, provincial and national government”.
“People who had spent their lives on these farms were uprooted, evicted and shunted off to faraway and desolate settlements for their designated population group … The slow pace of reform has caused impatience among our people, and justifiably so.
The president told farm workers that returning land to its rightful owners was the first step towards sustainable and enduring land reform.
“It is a priority of this government to ensure that we provide the necessary support to communities who have had their land returned to them in order for it to be utilised productively and effectively, and to support our broader goals of agricultural growth and economic transformation.”