By Avhashoni Magada
Community Trusts and individual families known as ‘’Bareki’’ in the Moutse West area under Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality on Saturday, 4 May 2019, celebrated ownership in title of their forefathers’ land, a first of its kind, when they received adjusted title deeds from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR).
The celebrations come after the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane distributed 107 adjusted titles to Community Trusts and individual heirs that were assisted by the Department in terms of the Land Title Adjustment Act, 1993 (Act No. 111 of 1993) to obtain title deeds.
Bareki refers to black people who have bought land at a time when the past apartheid legislations forbade any ownership or purchase of land by natives.
The presentation of title deeds was a clear indication that government and the department, in particular, remain true to its commitment to change the landownership patterns in the country for the benefit all people.
The celebration comes after the Department has assisted the community and individual heirs with the adjustment of the title deeds, to ensure that the farming plots are registered in their names and that the title deeds bear the names of the legitimate heirs, this involved receiving requests, investigations, research, making determinations and registration of such properties into the names of the rightful heirs.
During the handover celebration, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, accompanied Limpopo MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Jerry Nḓou, Sekhukhune District’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Stanley Ramaila, and Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality’s Mayor, Cllr D Mothiogwane, told Bareki community that, through its Rural Enterprise and Industrial Development (REID) and Rural Infrastructure Development (RID) programmes, the Department is ready to assist them to be productive farmers.
The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, in terms of section 3 of the Land Titles Adjustment Act 111 of 1993, appointed Mr. Nakedi Charles Machaka of the firm Machaka N.C Incorporated, as the Title Adjustment Commissioner (“the Commissioner”).
The Commissioner was mandated to investigate applications relating to the designated Portions of the farms/portions Witfontein 1 JS, Tweefontein 154 JR and Toitskraal 6 JS in the Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality under Sekhukhune district; Limpopo.
These farms were purchased and subdivided into plots and their titles were issued to the deceased individual purchasers between 1941 and early 1960s.
It is important to note that the Title Deeds were, prior to the appointment of the Commissioner, still in the name of the deceased. The beneficiaries, who received the adjusted title deeds, were unable to transfer such properties to their names as they were faced with challenges of meeting all the requirements of obtaining the transfer of the properties. This was because of the legislative framework requirements, e.g. inability to report the estates, as some of the people did not have death certificates. Another difficulty was financial constraints because some, if not most, of the families are led by the elderly and unemployed individuals.
The Land Title Adjustment Act 111 of 1993 regulates the allocation or devolution of certain land in respect of which one or more persons claim ownership, but do not have registered title deeds in respect thereof.
The Commissioner received about three hundred (300) applications which did not come at once because in the initial stages of the project, some of the community members did not have trust in the project, to the extent that some were suspicious that they might lose their plots.
Others adopted a ‘wait and see approach’ and, within time of course, the trust started to develop. This will account to the fact that the Department kept the door open by not providing stringent requirement on the time frame of this project and this was done so given the realities of the project.
This would be an answer to the question why out of three hundred (300) applications; only 107 have since been completed. The balance is still being processed.
Land is an economic asset and the awarding of title deeds to the beneficiaries will unlock opportunities that will lead to their development.