SA government expropriates farm in North West

The government was to make its first commercial farm expropriation for the purposes of restitution in Lichtenburg on Thursday.

North West farmer Hannes Visser would be given 21 days to respond to the notice of expropriation to be served by the Commissioner for Restitution of Land Rights in Gauteng and North West, said spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha.

Visser’s response would be conveyed to the Minister of Agriculture and Land, Thoko Didiza, and a final decision will then be made.

In a previous interview with the South African Press Association, Visser said he would oppose the expropriation of his 500ha farm on the grounds that the

original owners signed letters of purchase in 1942 and sold the land at market-related prices.

The farm was bought by his father Frans in 1968, and had been in the family ever since.

The Visser’s farm is the last block of a larger piece of land being claimed.

The commission claims the farm originally belonged to the Molamu family—Abram, Johannes, Thomas, Andreas and Joseph Molamu—who were dispossessed of it through forced-sale transactions under the apartheid government’s racial policies.

The planned expropriation follows two-and-half years of inconclusive negotiations on the value of the property—with Visser wanting R3-million and the government offering R1,75-million.

This was not the country’s first expropriation, as one took place in East London for development, Sicwetsha said. However, it was the first expropriation for restitution.

While the SA Communist Party has welcomed the move, farmers’ union Agri SA said it appeared the government was seeking to make an example of Visser. - Sapa

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