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Minister Didiza on challenges regarding land

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The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, told Polokwane Observer last Thursday that a task team will be established to deal with all challenges regarding land issues.
This includes the issue of portion 41 of the farm Kalkfontein 100 LS, land claimed more than 20 years ago, of which the land claims court is still to give judgment as to who the rightful claimants of the land was.
The Morena Seaka Home Owners’ Association, that consists of people from the Mojapelo clan, claim they are the rightful claimants and bona fide beneficiaries of the land.
Four clans, the Mojapelo, Mothiba, Tholongwe and Mothapo, known as Mamahule, lodged a land claim under the Restitution of Land Rights Act in 1996.
“We have been actively farming and lived there since 1998, and as per deeds of the Maboi6 Community Trust the land belongs to us. Since 2000 government (Polokwane Municipality, Coghsta, Rural Development and the Land Claims commission) has been in consultation with the Mojapelo clan, as they wanted to take that land (portion 41) for the purpose of establishing a legacy housing project for the former Premier Ramahlodi,” a representative of the Morena Seaka Home Owners’ Association told Polokwane Observer earlier this year.
The Department of Rural Development reportedly imposed Section 34 of the Rural Development Act which efficiently expropriated the land, but the land was never replaced or compensation paid to the Mojapelos. According to them the State never applied for Section 34 in court.
According to the Mojapelos, an interdict, obtained by the Mamamahule Community Council, still exists interdicting development of the land. The previous owners failed to reach an agreement with the claimants, and the current owner, Blue Dot, and the community has an ongoing bitter feud over the development of the land, which has led to many court cases.
An existing High Court Order, obtained on 15 July 2015, declared the occupiers as unlawful and authorised their eviction and the demolition of their structures, as did a Constitutional Court order, declaring the occupation unlawful, in 2017.
Government did not finalise the outstanding land claims and despite the court rulings, settlement on the land continued. In 2018 Blue Dot approached the Mojapelos regarding development of portion 41. The Mojapelos wanted a 51% stake in the development, but the parties could not find each other to reach a settlement.
Didiza said the land issues was one element forming part of her two-day visit, and the department, with Coghsta and other parties will form the task team, “as land claims need to be resolved” and there are issues that cut across various departments.
Didiza concluded her two-day visit to the Capricorn District Municipality in Limpopo on Friday. She visited the district as part of cabinet’s deployment of executives to various district municipalities as District Development Model (DDM) champions.
The minister was pleased with the progress made so far, and encouraged the district to continue to work together with all stakeholders.
“The main essence was to coordinate the work of government from national, provincial and at municipal level, and to make sure as government that we work in alignment in resolving the challenges ranging from under-development and economic transformation that our people are facing,” Didiza said.
She was also briefed on land issues that need urgent intervention within the district, with issues ranging from illegal land occupation to land invasion.

Story: Nelie Erasmus