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Land reform can no longer be resisted - Ramaphosa

23 March 2019 - 16:21 By THABO MOKONE

President Cyril Ramaphosa says white land owners are no longer in a position to resist government's land reform policies.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a government function to hand over title deeds to the Griqua and Khoi communities of Ebenhaeser on the West Coast.

The president said it was time for white land owners to cooperate with his administration in changing land ownership patterns and to stop frustrating the process.

He said the new administration to assume office after the May 8 election would "pick up the pace of land reform".

"There are those farmers who are agreeing to work with us, who are part of this settlement. We call on those other farmers who are still resisting, who are still doubtful about the future, we want to say to them, who are still asking many questions, we must say to them: the restitution of land to its rightful owners, it's time is now.

"We call on them to come forward so that this matter can be settled, the people of this area are hungry for land.

"To those who are still resisting, we are saying: please come to your senses. This is a programme  you cannot stop, that you cannot resist. Please come work with us. this is land that we must all share."

PODCAST: Listen to commentary on the issue.

The handover of title deeds to the three community property associations (CPAs) on the West Coast was part of a land claim that took twenty years to settle at a cost of R362m.

It's also the first land claim by the Khoi and the Griqua communities to be finalised by government after they were removed from the lucrative farms back in the 1920s.

The returned land would see the local communities partnering with established commercial farmers in wine, livestock and game farming on  53 farms comprising 1,566 hectares of land.

"I am pleased that the community wants to use the land for productive purposes."

Ramaphosa said the CPAs would be closely monitored to ensure that all proceeds accruing from the commercial farming were not abused and were used for the upliftment of local residents.

"We must not hear that the CPA is going to exclude the views of the people. Let the community know what the money is going to do. I ask that the CPAs must work in a transparent manner.

"Many CPAs have collapsed because the chairpersons and the secretaries are doing their own things. We must be able to account for every cent. Ons moenie geld steel nie (we mustn't steal money)," said the president in a mixture of English and Afrikaans.