President Cyril Ramaphosa has been adamant that the ANC does not support the nationalisation of land as advocated by the EFF, but what a Business Day report terms ‘explosive court papers’ have laid bare how the government has actively pushed for state land ownership for almost a decade.

In response to an application by Limpopo farmer David Rakgase, who is fighting to force the state to sell him the land he says it promised him in 2002, the Department of Land Reform & Rural Development has confirmed that ‘from 2011, state land purchase and leasing has come to constitute the entirety of land redistribution’.

Acting DG Rendani Sadiki states in papers filed at the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) that ‘grant-based purchase of land by black farmers was discontinued eight years ago’. Instead, she says, the government’s 2013 state land lease and disposal policy establishes ‘a principle that black farming households and communities may obtain 30-year leases, renewable for a further 20 years, before the state will consider transferring ownership’.

The report says Sadiki’s affidavit stands in stark contrast to Ramaphosa’s August 2018 answers to the EFF in Parliament, in which he said it was decided at a Cabinet lekgotla that the state should embark on a process of rapidly releasing land which belonged to it.

He rejected EFF leader Julius Malema’s argument that black farmers who received title deeds would sell their land.

As previously reported in Legalbrief Today, Rakgase (77) has turned to the court to compel the department to sell him the land at the R1.2m asking price he agreed to 17 years ago – and has provided the court with multiple state agreements that the land be sold to him.

No date for the hearing of Rakgase’s application has been set yet.

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