Minister of Public Works, Nathi Nhleko has urged young people to take a keen interest in land ownership and productive farming. Nhleko made the call when he handed over letters confirming transfer of 197 hectares of land to 33 historically marginalised black farmers in the Groblersdal district of Limpopo over the weekend.
“We are confident that farmers who are receiving subdivided portions of four farms which were previously allocated to white soldiers on their return from the Second World War are going to succeed as commercial farmers and serve as role model for emerging farmers,” Minister Nhleko told jubilant farmers who received individual letters of intent at the packed community hall on Saturday.
Nhleko said that unlocking processes for transfer of state land to other farmers with similar requests is a priority of his department to empower communities.
“Operation Bring back will be intensified to recover land and other properties which were looted from the state prior and immediately after the 1994 democratic breakthrough,” he underscored.
Nhleko said that law enforcement agencies need to get to the bottom of the sophisticated network responsible for theft of farms, vacant plots and other valuable properties.
Chairperson of Tafelkop Farmers Cooperative Development and Hereford Irrigation Scheme (Grobelaarsdal), Jerry Sefoloshe in expressing appreciation said that members of his association will resume their farming activities which saw them win several national awards and score tenders for export of their farming produce.
“The groundbreaking intervention by Minister Nhleko is an indicator that transformation of the property sector will be accelerated to right the wrongs of the past. Three years of support is all that we need to rise to the competitive level as commercial farmers who are second to none,” he underscored.
Chief Rammupudu Boleu II of Bakgaga Bakopa Traditional Authority applauded the transfer as a breakthrough that traditional leaders had hoped for in their deliberations at the recent Traditional leadership National Policy Conference.
“It is now up to government to fast track land restitution on the 87% of the land that was part of our dispossession,” he said.
The process to issue title deeds to the 33 farmers five of whom had won awards over the years as national farmers of the year has commenced in earnest and is expected to be completed in the next three months.
Limpopo MEC for Agriculture Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana who accompanied the Minister to the handover event pledged to support the farmers that had preciously exported baby vegetables to the Far East, Europe and Britain.
Members of the cooperative were involved in fact-finding missions at Machigan States University and Northern Carolina State University in America.
The cooperative had also showcased during the World Trade Fair held in Kenya.
Ten members of the studied tobacco production in Zimbabwe, three are currently studying aquaculture in Beijing while 6 youth members of the cooperative are studying vegetable production and aquaculture at the University of Limpopo.
The cooperative is also farming in pig and chicken production as well as zero grazing cattle for milk production.