Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has handed over title deeds and financial compensation to successful land claimants in Limpopo.
A total of 33 title deeds and seven financial compensation cheques were handed over to families on Friday, who successfully lodged their land claims.
Apart from the title deeds and financial compensation, one community received a truck and tractor with their title deed to be used for farming purposes.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Polokwane, Nkoana-Mashabane said title deeds help to restore the dignity and pride of the people.
“The racially motivated removals to barren land had robbed you of the sources for economic livelihood and had also broken family networks through displacement.
“I am aware that your journey since 1998, when you initially lodged claims, was characterised by despair, hunger, poverty and underdevelopment due to exclusion from participation in the mainstream economy.
“Without any slightest doubt, I know that it was the kind of hardship one would have found not easy to endure,” the Minister said.
She said forced removals involved families being taken by truck to dry, unknown land without basic services such as roads and water.
“Overnight, you lost beneficial occupation such as residential land, rich and arable agricultural land for crop production and livestock farming, burial sites with deep spiritual connections, firewood sources in abundance and beautiful land where you conducted ceremonial acts and performed religious rituals.”
Nkoana-Mashabane said the democratic government is here to restore dignity and pride by ensuring that the atrocities become part of a distant memory.
“As a department, we will continue to play our role and responsibility to provide you with the requisite support while you work the land and derive livelihood from it.”
Thabo Phali, an official at the Limpopo Deeds Office, told the successful claimants that their title deeds have been registered and that people can visit the office to validate ownership of land.
“The title deeds show that you are the rightful owners of land,” he said.
Kgabudi Petja, whose family received financial compensation, said they are relieved that the long wait is finally over.
“We waited for years for our land to be returned to us. Although we did not get the land back, we console ourselves with the money we have received.”
Those who got their land back were excited, saying they are going to build homes and also use the land for agricultural purposes. The Rambudas from Vhembe are one of those families.
“We are going to farm and make sure that we make profit from the land. It was a long wait and finally it paid off. We thank our government for bringing our land back to us,” Avhashoni Rambuda said.
Communities came in their numbers to witness the Minister handing over title deeds and financial compensation. Most of those who came were elderly people, who were forcefully removed from their land by the apartheid regime.
Most of them still remember the events as though they happened yesterday. –Courtesy SAnews.gov.za