GROBLERSDAL – Thirty famers who have been successfully farming various agricultural produce for the past 25 years in within the Sekhukhune district in the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality (EMLM) were handed over title deeds to the land outside Groblersdal on Saturday.
The farmers, under the Tafelkop Farmers Association, supply local food stores, school feeding schemes as well as the Pretoria and Johannesburg fresh produce markets.
The extent of the land officially registered in the names of the farmers measure 189 hectares and is valued at more than R25.5 million.
The awarding of the title deeds is part of the ongoing work of the Land Reform Inter-ministerial Committee to accelerate land reform by mobilizing state resources to increase the efficiency and sustainability of land redistribution and restitution.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, supported by ministers of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia De Lille, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Ramola and Acting Minister in the presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation joined by Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi handed over the title deeds.
This after in 2000 the then National Department of Agriculture entered into lease agreements with the Tafelkop Farmers Association in terms of the Land Redistribution through Agricultural Development (LRAD) program.
In 2009, the former Limpopo Department of Agriculture (LDA) recommended to the Department of Public Works, as the custodian of the land, that the land be transferred to the farmers who had been in occupation since 1996.
The deeds were registered earlier in 2021 in the names of the farmers who emerged as beneficiaries on Saturday, 22 May 2021.
In his keynote address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the handover of the title deeds to Tafelkop Farmers Association was a vision that the community had spent the past 25 years fighting to see realized and it marked a milestone in a long journey.
The land is currently being used to farm tobacco, cotton and fresh produce and President Ramaphosa indicated that it had great potential for even more farming opportunities.
A total of 32 households are supported by the land and farming activities at the land provide employment to 128 permanent workers and up to 320 seasonal workers.
The handover of the title deeds will now put the farmers in a position to be able to use it as security for loans to expand, to secure long-term supply contracts and to form partnerships with bigger commercial farmers.
“We urge project leaders to continue to seek more market opportunities for the producers to ensure their viability. Receiving these title deeds has great significance for this community,” said Ramaphosa.
Jerry Sefoloshe, Tafelkop Farmers Association Chairperson, expressed gratitude for the receipt of the title deeds that gave them back the land from which their forefathers were forcefully removed.
Sefoloshe said from that day they were not afraid to claim the land as theirs and that they did not think that after the President Ramaphosa gave them the deeds, there would be anyone telling the farmers to the contrary.
He, however, expressed concerns over the lack of access to water crisis which continues to mar the area despite several efforts to engage the district municipality to find permanent solutions.