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Delivered by the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs

Ms Lulama Xingwana

04 APRIL 2009

Programme Director

The Premier, Mr Cassel Mathale

The MEC for Agriculture Mme Dikeledi Magadzi

The Executive Mayor for the Mopani District Municipality,

Mr H M Mokgobi

The Mayor for the Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality,

Mr O J Mushwana

Chairperson of the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders, Kgoshi S F Makgeru

All the Magoshi (Traditional Leaders) present here today

Dr Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane

Dr Bishop Engenas Lekganyane

Senior Government officials present here today

President of Nafu, Mr. Motsepe Matlala,

The previous land owners present here today Messrs Spencer Drake Ferris

Claimants as well as beneficiaries

Members of the media

Distinguished guests,
Halala boMastene ba Makgoba, Halala!

Le boile Lefatshe la Makgoba.

The Makgoba people are not an ordinary breed of people; they are
brave people in the mould of Makhado, Ngungunyane, Maleboho and
Sekhukhune. These are the Lions of the North who fought fiercely
against the oppression of the colonists. The significance of this
occasion unlike any other is the fact that it comes at a heavy price,
the struggles and resistance of the Makgoba people, including the
beheading of Kgoshi Makgoba are an indication of the extent to which
the Makgoba people were prepared to defend their land. The
restoration of this land to the Makgoba people should serve as a point
of unity.

Around 1888 the Makgoba tribe was engaged in battles with the
remnants of the Voortrekker colonisers who invaded their land,
Makgobaskloof (Tshweneng). The Voortrekkers were keen on taking
over the Makgoba land due to its majestic beauty, rolling hills, rivers
and wealth. True to his nature, Kgoshi Makgoba bravely and fiercely
defended his birthright.

Armed with bow and arrow, and many occasions with stones, the
tribe gallantly resisted the Voortrekkers for a period of seven years.
When they realised that they could not win the battle in wrangling the
land from the Makgoba people, the invaders mobilised the support of
some African people against the Makgoba people.

Unfortunately for the Makgoba people, Kgoshi Mamphoku Makgoba
was killed and beheaded to appease the Voortrekkers commander,
Piet Joubert in 1895.

Discouraged by the death of their gallant leader, the Makgoba people
was later scattered all over the area. Some turned into peasants and
farm labourers with no land rights. Various members of the royal
family were then forcefully removed by the Voortrekkers to far away
areas such as Hammanskraal and many other places, far from their
ancestral land.

It is owing to this great king and many others whose names have not
been etched in the annals of history that we are where we are today.
It is precisely the struggles of our people after many attempts have
failed to convince successive white regimes to enter into a power
sharing deal with the black community that has given impetus to the
ushering in of a democratic dispensation.

The restoration of land takes place within the context of African
Renaissance and the challenges faced by our people and the world
at large as encapsulated in the Millennium Development Goals.

As part of the millennium goals, there were key agreements about
tackling underdevelopment, governance, poverty, democratizing
society, and promoting self determination, protection of rights
including minority rights, and ensuring the provision of basic services
and infrastructure like housing, access to clean water and sanitation.

It is in the context of rural development that land and agrarian reform
should promote the establishment of a new set of productive relations
in society, parity in land ownership, and dealing with both race and
gender inequalities in patterns of land ownership.

Our people will never realize the true value of political freedom until
they have true economic power. Land is the basis of power and
wealth, freedom and prosperity. In our own context, our conquerors
had realized this fact by dispossessing African people of their land
and of the right to own and use the land, resulting not only in skewed
land ownership patterns, but also in the total immiseration and
deprivation of the majority of our people.

The restitution of the land to the people is not only a symbolic
gesture; it is a deliberate act of transferring assets into the hands of
the community. In so doing, government has set up in place legal
entities such as CPAs and Trusts which form the basis of democratic
governance and transformation of society. This should work in
collaboration with all nascent institutions of governance in
communities of all manner and form, including, but not limited to
institutions of traditional authority.

The Makgoba claim was lodged by Kgoshi Mokopa Garibaldi
Makgoba and Frederick Tsheoga on behalf of the Makgoba

community. The two claims were consolidated into one claim, i.e. the
Makgoba claim.

The people of Makgoba community suffered a similar fate to that of
many other black South Africans who were forcefully removed from
their land as a result of the inhumane Land Act and related
legislations of the previous government.

As the people were systematically removed from their land, they
settled in various areas such as Hammanskraal, Malepisi around
Lebowakgomo, Ga Modjadji, Ga Mathabata, Ga Molepo, Makweng
as well as other areas within the Limpopo Province. Some of the
people moved to areas in other Provinces.

The land claimed by the Makgoba community comprises both private
and state owned properties. In order to register progress on the
settlement of the claim, the office adopted a phased approach
whereby parcels of land are restored to the community as they
become available for transfer. As part of the settlement of the first
phase of the claim, four state-owned properties (Sapekoe) measuring
an extent of 768 ha were approved for restoration to the community in

I have been made aware of the fact that there have been challenges
within the community regarding this claim. I want to advice you that
everywhere where there are disputes and internal fighting, there can
be no productivity. On behalf of government, I am imploring the
community to work together so that this project, for which the state
has expended vasts amount of money, does not become a failure. It
is imperative for the Trust and the Royal Council to work together for
the greater good of the community.

As the world faces global economic challenges and a grim prospect
of hunger, famine, and starvation aggravated by high food prices, and
pendulum swings in major economic currencies and markets, land
and agrarian reform offers us a unique opportunity to stem the tide of
economic meltdown and recession and its devastating effects on
already poor and marginalized communities. This community must
prudently use the land to ensure sustainable food security and

improved livelihoods for the people in the area. We cannot afford to
be doing anything else.

To borrow from a slogan of the past, I say to you all ORGANIZE OR
STARVE. You have been made masters of your own destiny. It is up
to you what you do with your newly acquired position of privilege and
power. Through your work, blood and sweat, you can become the
envy of many nations. Or you could vindicate many self-fulfilling
prophesies about land reform projects becoming a failure through
lack of effort, disunity and power struggles. As already mentioned,
land reform should promote the objectives of reconciliation and unity,
economic empowerment, job creation, food security and poverty
alleviation as outlined in government policy objectives.

As you are aware, we are now implementing the “use it or lose it”
principle whereby the state takes back the land from people who
receive land from the state only to let it lie fallow and go to waste. It
is important that land reform beneficiaries make use of the land in a
sustainable manner. As I have said before, we cannot afford to have
emerging farmers who remain emergent forever. We will be watching
the space in as far as this project is concerned, and we want to hear
about good progress. We want to see this community being counted
among the class of successful black commercial farmers.

The properties are located on prime land known not only for its
natural beauty, mountains, valleys and meanders, but it is also
located in an area adjacent to the Letsitele valley which is known as
the bread basket for South Africa. The land borders interesting
places such as the Modjadji area famously known for its rain queen
Modjadji.The properties have a diverse range of profitable activities
such as commercial timber production, aquaculture, tourism and
leisure activities, as well as commercial agricultural activities
including avocado, guava, and macadamia nuts. I am happy to know
that plans are at an advanced stage for the conclusion of a
memorandum of agreement towards a joint venture between the
beneficiaries and the previous land owners. I have been informed
that in terms of the agreement on the joint venture on the timber
business, the community will have an opportunity to participate in the
various value chain activities such as harvesting, making pellets,
manufacturing window frames, etc.

According to the previous land owners, the current turn-over for the
business is approximately R6 million per month and the business is
realizing a good profit. I am happy to note that in terms of the
agreement, the community will have access to the same market that
the previous land owners had which includes the local market as well
as export market in Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola.

I am happy to announce that for phase two and three of the
settlement of the Makgoba claim:

      The state has approved the restoration of additional 5113 ha of
       land worth about R104 million to the community.
      Development grants of approximately R26 million for
       development of the land have been approved, in line with
       Section 42(C) of the Restitution Act.
      No less than 603 households involving approximately 1087
       individuals will benefit from the settlement of this claim.

I am told that there is still about 150 000ha outstanding that must be
restored to you, but government will only consider the release of
more land once we have acquitted ourselves well in the management
and use of the land which is already in your hands.

The Department of Agriculture, Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry, Greater Tzaneen Municipality as well as Trade and
Investment Limpopo have been brought on board to assist the
beneficiaries with business advisory services including assistance
with access to markets.

I have been informed that developments are at an advanced stage to
finalize the restoration of the outstanding properties in final settlement
of the Makgoba claim. The regional office is also busy with the
process of finalizing the verification of beneficiaries.

Through the Provision of Land and Assistance Amendment Act, 2008
(Act No 58 of 2008) the state will be able to not only buy land for
beneficiaries, but also movable property such as agricultural
equipment, tractors, as well as shares in related value add business

The Makgoba community is currently receiving assistance with
feasibility studies on the land to determine the best way of utilizing
the land going forward. The Limpopo Department of Agriculture will
be taking a lead in this regard.

As we will be soon celebrating Freedom Day, we as a nation can
celebrate the achievements that have been made in entrenching
democracy in our country as well as the strides made towards
creating a better life for all.

Spurred on by the milestones made over the past 15 years, we will
continue to increase the pace and effort in ensuring that there is
redress for the victims of the injustices of the past regime. We are
proud of the fact that under the democratic order, the restitution
programme in our country is implemented in an orderly way, under
the rule of law. To date, no less than R10bn has been paid by the
state to purchase land for land reform beneficiaries.

We are only about five years away from the millennium goals which
include rural development and focus on issues such as integrated
human settlements and the general improvement of the quality of life
of our people as enshrined in the Constitution of the land. The
freedom charter states that “THE LAND SHALL BE SHARED
not shared with just anybody, but only with those that are prepared to
work hard on the land.

Next time we must come back to find that the community is realizing
double, if not triple the profit that was made by the previous land
owners on the land.

The Makgoba community must prove itself by demonstrating how well
it is able to take care of itself. As government we have played our
part, we have purchased the land for you, we are giving grants
towards development, and we are also leaving you in the care of
other government structures and parastatals for assistance. It is now
upon the community to prove that it is capable of being good

stewards of the land entrusted to them, not only for itself, but for

After 15 years, we believe that we have done well as government.
We have given land and grants to people and it is now up to the
people to take responsibility for the land given to them. Government
is not here to baby-sit communities who are not prepared to work

Part of our challenge as government is the rising food prices. With so
much land now in the hands of the people, we cannot have a
situation whereby people are still dependent on others to feed them.
If that is the case, are we then to say as government that we have
made a mistake by giving land to the people?

We are encouraged by the efforts of others throughout the country
that have made us proud and have vindicated our position as
government that giving land to the people is a categorical imperative
and a giant leap towards eradicating poverty. Let us all work hard
together to ensure that never again will we have a situation like in the
past where our people tilled the land but had nothing. They worked
hard on the land and yet their children went hungry even as their
parents produced food through blood and sweat. Let us all work hard
and share in the spoils of our labour. As government we are
encouraging all those who are in a position to provide assistance, to
come forward for us to work together in ensuring that land is used

We are not interested in publicity stunts whereby people make grand
proclamations in the media. We are keen on working together with
those who are genuine about contributing to building our nation
together with us. We have said it clearly before – land reform is
everybody’s business. We are calling on role players in the public
and private sector to put their hand to plough. By working together,
we can succeed in pushing back the frontiers of poverty and thereby
ensure a better life for all.

e Nkosi


Ndo Livhuha

Hi Khensile

Baie Dankie


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