The North Gauteng High Court has ordered the government to sell Nooitgedacht farm in Northam, Limpopo, to farmer David Rakgase.
Elderly Rakgase is a small-scale farmer that has been farming on Nooitgedacht for almost 30 years. He has been leasing the 3 179 hectare farm from the government since 1991.
The 78-year Rakgase has been farming cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and game for the past 28 years.
The Limpopo farmer has been struggling to purchase the farm for the past 16 years from the government.
In 2003, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), in 2003, accepted his offer to purchase the farm, exactly a year after the Department offered him the option of buying the farm as a beneficiary of the government’s then Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme.
But in 2011, the government made a U-turn and made him sign a new 5-year lease agreement with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
This was despite government confirming 8 years earlier that they were in the process of transferring the land and title into his full ownership.
The government told him he no longer had an option to become the owner of the land, as he falls under a new government programme – the Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS). They even denied that the original option to purchase was ever exercised.
In 2018, Rakgase took the department to court.
He filed papers with the North Gauteng High Court asking them to order then minister of rural development and land reform, Maite Nkoana- Mashabane, and the Limpopo MEC for agriculture and rural development, Basikopo Makamu, to sell him the land.
The High Court on Wednesday overturned the Department’s decision not to sell.
The court gave the government 30 days to sell the farm to Rakgase on the terms and conditions and price which would have applied if the farm had been sold to him under the LRAD programme in 2003.