DA Gauteng Caucus Leader Jack Bloom and Agriculture Spokesman Thomas Walters
The Gauteng Provincial Government is badly letting down emerging farmers in Gauteng by failing to issue title deeds so that they have full ownership of land.
This is our conclusion after visiting forgotten farmers in the West Rand and south Johannesburg who have waited more than ten years for title deeds under the Gauteng Farmer Settlement Programme (GFSP).
This scheme is run by the Gauteng Agriculture Department, which promised title deeds to 254 black farmers in 2002, but all promises made have been broken.
We visited the farms yesterday (20 May) as part of the DA’s Umhlaba kuBantu, Land to the People campaign to use state-owned land effectively in Gauteng.
According to an official source, 55% of Gauteng land is owned by the government, but the provincial government has failed to identify and use this land effectively.
Mr Thabo Mokone showed us his vandalised farmhouse in Luipaardsvlei in Randfontein. He first leased this farm 19 years ago, but had to leave in November last year as it was getting too dangerous to stay.
His plans to upgrade his farm failed because without title deeds he could not get a bank loan. His fences and greenhouses were stolen, and he now lives with a friend in Mohlakeng.
Instead of 25 successful farms in this area which would have employed hundreds of workers, there are just empty fields and the faded dreams of aspirant farmers like Mokone.
We saw similar problems at Suurbekom in Westonaria, and Rietfontein in south Johannesburg near Poortjie.
Kate and Ben Makhubu have lived for 22 years on their Rietfontein farm, but can’t get loans to improve their chicken enterprise because they never got their promised title deeds.
There are many sad stories of farmers let down by the provincial government’s failure to issue title deeds.
The provincial government is missing a massive opportunity to create agricultural jobs in depressed areas.
The DA will campaign for effective land reform in Gauteng, rather than the incompetence of present failed efforts.