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Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the title deed handover to the Tafelkop community, Tafelkop, Sekhukhune , Limpopo, 22 May 2021

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 Programme Director,
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Ms Patricia de Lille,
Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Stanley Mathabatha,
Mayor of the Sekhukhune District Municipality, Mr Stanley Ramaila,
Mayor of the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality, Ms Julia Mathebe,
Kgoshi ya Bakgaga Ba Kopa, 
Kgoshi Boleu Rammupudu,
Traditional Leaders,
Chairperson of Tafelkop Farmers Association, Mr Jerry Sefoloshe, 
Members of the community,
Bo-Mme le Bo-Ntate
MaAfrika Borwa a gešo.
 
This is indeed a great day for the community of Tafelkop, for the people of Limpopo, and for the whole of South Africa. 
 
Today we are witnessing a community’s dream being fulfilled.
 
It is the vision that this community has spent the past 25 years fighting to see realised. 
 
 
The handover of these title deeds to the members of the Tafelkop Farmers Association marks a milestone in a long journey.
 
This land is currently being used to farm tobacco, cotton and fresh produce, and has great potential for even more farming activities.
 
A total of 32 households are supported by this land, and farming activities provide employment to 128 permanent workers and up to 320 seasonal workers. 
 
To the farmers of Tafelkop,
 
I want to thank you for your resilience and your determination, which is an inspiration to us all. 
 
Le re gopoditše gore ka nnete ga go seo se tlisago phenyo go swana le kgotlelelo, gobane ge gona le bootee goba kopano, go na le phenyo. Tau tša hloka seboka, di šitwa ke nare e hlotša.
(You have reminded us indeed that nothing is so full of victory as patience, and that where there is unity, there is always victory.)
This land is this community’s most valuable asset, and now it is officially yours.
 
Lefatshe le, ke lefa la badudi ba tulo ye, go tloga lehono ke la lona ka semmutsho!
 
You will now be able to use it as security to secure loans to expand, to secure long-term supply contracts and to form partnerships with bigger commercial farmers. 
 
The prospects for the agricultural sector provide an opportunity for further public-private partnerships to promote transformation and ensure sustainable growth. 
 
We therefore welcome the market opportunities offered by some of our prominent retail groups to the Tafelkop Farmers Association. 
 
We urge project leaders to continue to seek more market opportunities for the producers to ensure their viability.
 
Receiving these title deeds has great significance for this community.
 
We have not forgotten the dispossession, land theft and forced removals that the people of this community and many communities across the country had to endure. 
 
We have not forgotten the harsh legacy of farming here in Limpopo, where farm-dwellers were forced to be labour tenants on their forefathers’ land, and not allowed to own land to feed their families or graze their animals.
 
We have not forgotten the terrible exploitation and abuse of black farmworkers in what was the Northern Transvaal. 
 
We have not forgotten the apartheid government’s Farm Labour Scheme, which forced those guilty of petty offences to work on white-owned farms to escape a jail sentence. 
 
We also recall how the apartheid government supported white farmers with equipment, technical support and access to credit to build their businesses, but black subsistence farmers struggled to survive.
 
That is why today is a celebration. 
 
These title deeds bring justice to a dispossessed community.
 
It gives us hope, because it has shown that with the right support and the right opportunities, the agricultural industry can be transformed for the benefit of our country.
 
We celebrate our progress, because day by day our land reform programme is gaining momentum. 
 
To date, government has redistributed over five million hectares of land, totalling around 5,500 farms, to more than 300,000 beneficiaries.
 
So far, the land restitution process has benefited over two million land claimants and resulted in the transfer of around 2.7 million hectares.
 
Land reform isn’t just in the interests of redress, justice and social cohesion.
 
It is also about economic development.
 
Agriculture and the agriculture value chain can and must transform rural economies. 
 
Through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan we are developing the agricultural sector, and making it more inclusive so that it can play an even greater role in driving inclusive growth.
 
Here in Ga-Sekhukhune, agricultural development forms part of the District Rural Development Plan.
 
The transfer of this state land is part of our nationwide process to speed up land reform.
 
Our Constitution obliges the state to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within our available resources, to facilitate equitable access to land.
 
The release of state-owned land is one of the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
 
Last year, we announced that 529,000 hectares of state-owned land would be released for agricultural activities. 
 
Fellow South Africans,
 
The land reform process has been beset by many challenges.
 
One of these, the management of farmland leases, was highlighted by Minister Thoko Didiza in her recent Budget Vote in Parliament.
 
In recent months, we have had to respond to complaints from several black emerging farmers. These have revealed the weaknesses in the implementation of our policies, and call for an overhaul of our property management processes.
 
We are listening carefully to what farmers are saying.
 
We are forging ahead with the process of amending Section 25 of the Constitution to enable land expropriation without compensation, all the while ensuring that we improve agricultural output and expand the property rights of all South Africans. 
 
There is currently a public participation process around the Expropriation Bill, which outlines the circumstances under which land may be expropriated both with and without compensation.
 
Over the next financial year we will establish a land and agrarian reform agency to fast-track land reform.
 
We are looming at how effective our past policies have been. We are going to address this issue of land reform urgently.
 
We have to urgently address the significant service delivery challenges in this community and in communities around the country.
 
Water supply problems have endured in various parts of Ga-Sekhukhune, affecting health and livelihoods, but also farming. 
 
Corruption and maladministration in the delivery of services have to be rooted out.
 
Fellow South Africans,
 
The Tafelkop Farmers Association has joined many great leaders from Ga-Sekhukhune such as Dikgosi Thulare, Sekwati and Sekhukhune who fought many heroic wars against land dispossession.
 
During the liberation struggle, activists from Ga-Sekhukhune like Elias Motsoaledi, Nelson Diale, Mogaramedi Sekhukhune, Madimetja Phokanoka, Oriah Maleka and Flag Boshielo fought against land dispossession, forced removals and the deprivation caused by apartheid laws.
 
We are working to put right what went wrong during the apartheid years and during our own tenure.
 
We do this in tribute to those who lived among us; who resided here.
 
Land reform is key to growing the agricultural sector in Ga-Sekhukhune and elsewhere.
 
It is an important step towards bolstering our nation’s food security.
 
It is about building an inclusive economy.
 
It is about providing a better future for the people of this area and of our country.
 
We will devise programmes that will provide support for longer than one or two years.
 
I call on each and all to be part of ensuring that this handover of title deeds is one step towards greater things for this community.
 
For me, today has been the best day in the office; to kick the soil and dust and see your produce.
 
I have no doubt that with the commitment and energy of all involved, this project will continue to thrive.
 
I thank you.