The following is a statement by Mr Phumeza Grootboom, Managing Director of the Border Rural Committee:

The Minster of Rural Development and Land Reform’s contestation of the land claims court judgment in the Prudhoe case is not only shocking, but a shame to the ANC-led government. It is really unbelievable that Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane can be so concerned about rights of individual farmers at the expense of a community land restitution claim. The judges in the land claims court passed a judgment in favour of a dispossessed community for land restoration with full understanding that there were other land owners or occupiers on the land, including the Fish River Sun. During the proceedings there is no mention of the current land owners contesting the court settlement. The Minister must give us an explanation of why she has chosen to undermine the position of her predecessor, Minster Nkwinti, and the rights of the community to the land.

The consideration of the property rights of the few land owners at Prudhoe is not an honest and genuine reason for the Minister to take such an approach. In doing so, the Minister is betraying the Prudhoe community. This seems consistent with the ANC-led government’s failure to deliver land to the landless and poor for over 20 years.  Based on its record to date, even if Section 25 of the Constitution is amended to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, I doubt that there would be meaningful land redistribution in this country.  The government has reneged on its promises to its constituency. Land reform was never designed to address and protect the interest of the elite and business and in this case one would suspect that the Minister succumbed to pressure from somewhere.

The ANC must deliver on land redistribution, land tenure and restitution and not find excuses. I call upon the ANCMinister to give Lastly in light of the Minister’s decisions that are senseless, lack political explanation and demonstrate of the lack of capacity to lead the department it might necessary for the ANC to remove her with immediate effect. The failure of the ANC to deal with this serous error of the Minister will leave rural communities with no option but to push for her remove through mobilisation.

Phumeza Grootboom, 17 July 2018

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