land expropriation Bill

The Land Expropriation Bill was passed by the National Assembly on Wednesday. Image: CC0 Public Domain /

High Court orders government to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo

David Rakgase, a farmer in Limpopo, will finally be able to purchase the Nooitgedacht farm he has been working for nearly three decades.

land expropriation Bill

The Land Expropriation Bill was passed by the National Assembly on Wednesday. Image: CC0 Public Domain /

In what the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called a ‘landmark verdict’, the North Gauteng High Court has compelled the state to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Limpopo David Rakgase, the man who has farmed the land for 28 years.

Rakgase first leased Nooitgedacht farm in 1991

Rakgase signed the 30-year lease to the 179-hectare farm with the previous regime in 1991 and it was taken over by the African National Congress (ANC) government who took over in 1994 and has been in power ever since.

Rakgase was offered the chance to purchase the farm in 2002 by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform 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 Rakgase eventually had to turn to the courts after it appeared as if it would renege on the deal and instead offer a 30-year extension on the lease.

North Gauteng High Court orders state to sell the land

The matter came to a conclusion on 4 September 2019 when the North Gauteng High Court overturned the department’s decision and gave the State 30 days to sell the farm to Rakgase on the terms and conditions and price which would have applied if the farm had been sold to him under the LRAD programme in 2003.

“This ruling sets an important precedent, as countless other black, small-scale farmers can finally challenge the ANC government’s failure in land reform,” wrote Annette Steyn, DA Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land, in a statement.

“Mr. Rakgase is not the only emerging black farmer that has been dealt a bad hand by government. There are many others who have suffered a similar fate due to the ANC’s fragmented land redistribution position.”

Annette Steyn

The official opposition was in court to support the farmer during the trial and urged others who believe they have a legitimate claim to purchase land from the government to come forward.

Land expropriation in South Africa

The topic of land in South Africa is an emotional one right now, with the issue of land expropriation without compensation being hotly debated across all sectors of South African society.

However, the DA is concerned about the ANC pushing for the redistribution of land when it is hanging on to farms that have been run by other people for almost three decades.

“Being a tenant farmer is not real empowerment, it is in fact, a hallmark of the ANC that will have you believe that they care about land reform but, in reality, they care about control,” Steyn said.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has unremittingly maintained that his party does not support nationalisation of land, yet, court papers in the Rakgase matter uncovered that the ANC government has actively pushed for state land ownership for years.”

Annette Steyn