25 March 2019

South Africa: MEC Beverley Schäfer On Ebenhaeser Land Claim

press release

Statement by Mec of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer on the Ebenhaeser Land Claim

MEC of Economic Opportunities,Beverley Schäfer says she hopes that the people of Ebenhaeser go on to become successful commercial farmers, following the hand-over of title deeds in the Western Cape's largest agricultural restitution land claim yesterday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa handed over title deeds to representatives of the Ebenhaeser, Vaalplaas and Beeswater land claim yesterday. The Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille and MEC Schäfer also attended the event.

This claim is the largest agricultural restitution claim in the Western Cape and the longest outstanding one in the province.

It involves 3990 hectares of commercial farmland and more than 2000 beneficiaries who are the direct descendants of the Griqua community who established themselves on the farm as far back as 1926.

The claim was originally submitted in 1996 but has been hampered by numerous delays.

MEC Schäfer said: "For four and a half years, I engaged with the Ebenhaeser community as Chair of the standing committee over the frustrations and mistrust among the Community Property Association and Trust. This is the longest outstanding land claim in the WC and it became paramount that this claim would be resolved before the end of the 5th Parliament.

She said :"I am very happy to say that yesterday was a joyous occasion as the President of the Republic handed over title deeds to the representative of the claimants for Ebenhaeser, Vaalplaas and Beeswater."

"This land claim has unfortunately taken more than 22 years to resolve. Land reform must be fast tracked to give dignity to many of the people displaced from their homes. We hope that the people of Ebenhaeser, Vaalplaas and Beeswater will go on to become successful commercial agricultural producers in the Western Cape."

The Department of Agriculture in the province will provide advice and extension services to the farmers, as required, to ensure that this land claim is a success for everyone involved.

"Agriculture is a major contributor to economic growth and job creation in our province and successful transformation of the sector contributes to further growth and development in this sector. The Western Cape has an independently verified 72% success rate for land reform projects it supports and we believe that with the proper support, skills and market access, the farmers of Ebenhaeser, Vaalplaas and Beeswater can enjoy similar successes," MEC Schäfer said.

Issued by: Western Cape Economic Development and Tourism

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