North West Premier Thandi Modise has returned six farms in the Ratlou municipality after they were taken from the community through the 1913 Land Act.
Modise handed over land worth R60-million to the Barolong Boo Mariba Traditional Council at the weekend.
The six farms were returned at a celebration at Dalyspan Farm near Mabule in the Ratlou municipality after being taken from the community through the 1913 Land Act.
"Never and never again must this country experience some of the things that many of us are still reeling from. Hold on to the land we return to you today," she said in a statement.
She encouraged the locals not to allow people to steal it. She said they must preserve the land for their children.
"It was stolen and it is being returned. Don't let it slip through our fingers again," she said.
Speaking on behalf of the traditional council, Kgosi Kopano Lekoko said he was thankful to the government for having had the wisdom to resort to negotiation to obtain the land.
"We are thankful to the ANC-led government that the land was being returned without bloodshed. There are many farms in the land that we have claimed," he said.
'Safeguard the land of our forefathers'
He said they owed it to the government to demonstrate that they will use the land profitably to feed people.
Community member Olebogeng More (62) said it had been a long wait and the hand over showed that patience was a virtue.
"We are going to safeguard the land of our forefathers. No one will do what they like here. Our cattle will no longer starve," he said.
Kobus Odendaal (77), who bought the Dalyspan farm seven years ago from another farmer, said he and his wife Susan were very happy for the community although they would miss the good life they had at the farm.
"It was a very good farm, very productive," he said. – Sapa